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Washington state school gunman's texts warned of violence, suicide
November 20, 2014 / 9:38 PM / 3 years ago

Washington state school gunman's texts warned of violence, suicide

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The gunman in a Washington state high school cafeteria shooting last month that left five dead sent ominous text messages before the attack that detailed how to divvy up his property and what he wanted to wear in his funeral casket, court documents showed on Thursday.

A makeshift memorial is seen outside Marysville-Pilchuck High School the day after a school shooting in Marysville, Washington October 25, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/Files

Also, minutes before the shooting, Jaylen Fryberg used Facebook to send another teen who was not among the victims a photo that appeared to be the handgun he would use sitting between his legs, asking the teen to have a friend “call me before I do this.”

The popular 15-year-old football player opened fire with a .40 caliber Berretta on a cafeteria gathering of his cousins and three close friends he had arranged via text message at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle on Oct. 24.

Fryberg, who shot himself, died that day along with a female victim. Two other girls and a cousin later died of their injuries in hospital. Nate Hatch, another cousin, has been released.

Fragments of text messages in the days before the shooting were described by an Everett Police Department detective in a search warrant affidavit released to Reuters on Thursday.

According to the affidavit, he also sent texts to a 15-year-old close friend with whom police said he had an argument on Oct. 18.

Then on Oct. 22, Fryberg wrote: “I set the date. Hopefully you regret not talking to me ... You have no idea what I‘m talking about. But you will ... Bang bang I‘m dead.”

When that teen stopped responding, Fryberg tried to reach the person through a friend to whom he sent the picture of the handgun, the affidavit said.

Fryberg’s family have said there was no apparent rift between the cousins. But Fryberg had hinted in social media messages of some sort of heartbreak and anger. Also, a friend of one of the female victims as well as a school official said Fryberg had recently been rejected by a girl.

Snohomish Multi-Agency Response Team spokeswoman Shari Ireton said it would take police weeks to determine whether family or friends could face criminal charges for not reporting Fryberg’s texts.

The killings marked the latest in a string of such incidents at U.S. schools, renewing a national debate about student safety and gun control.

Editing by Eric Walsh

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