One student and a lone gunman died after a shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, Tuesday morning. At a press conference late Tuesday afternoon, Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson identified the slain student as 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman, a freshman at Reynolds High School.
Anderson said he met with Hoffman’s parents earlier in the day and that the family is “devastated.” He continued, “They want you to know that Emilio was a great kid, and he was loved by all.”
“This is a tragedy that affects our whole community,” Anderson told reporters. “This is not supposed to happen to any school or to any child, but we will get through this together.”
Anderson also commended Reynolds High School teacher Todd Rispler who, despite being injured during the shooting, was able to initiate the school’s lockdown procedure.
Late Tuesday afternoon at an event sponsored by the social media site Tumblr, President Obama made his first comments about the deadly shooting.
“People often ask me, ‘How’s it been being president?’” Obama said. “My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.”
“We’re the only developed country on earth where this happens, and it happens now once a week … our levels of gun violence are off the charts, there’s no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up with this,” the president continued. “We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights, but the idea that, for example, we couldn’t even get a background check bill (through Congress) … it makes no sense.”
Within a few hours after the violence broke out, the situation was “contained,” officials confirmed. Police searched each student and every room of the building to ensure the scene was fully under control. Students then boarded buses and were taken to a designated, nearby parking lot to be reunited with their parents.
During the evacuation process, authorities found a person with a gun. Police do not believe the individual, who was taken into custody, was part of the incident, Police Chief Anderson said.
“We have tentatively identified the shooter in today’s event, but again, we are not in a position to 100% confirm his name and age at this time,” said Anderson Tuesday evening. He said the information would be released as soon as possible. Police did confirm the gunman used a rifle.
Police responded to reports of shots fired at the school at 8:07 a.m., a news release posted from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office read. Police say the shooter entered the school’s gymnasium, and that Hoffman was killed in the boy’s locker room.
Anderson also praised the quick response time of his officers saying that he believed their efforts saved many other lives.
Dozens of emergency vehicles surrounded the school as County Sheriffs confirmed there was an “active shooter.”
“My heart is heavy after learning of this morning’s tragic events at Reynolds High School. Today Oregon hurts as we try to make sense of a senseless act of violence,” Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon said in a statement.
Reynolds High School is the second largest high school in the state, with about 2,700 students in grades nine through 12. Most of the seniors weren’t inside the building on Tuesday. Their commencement ceremony is scheduled for later this week. The students attending school were completing their final examinations before summer vacation.
The sheriff’s office declared the official hashtag #RHShooting.
At least 74 school shootings have occurred throughout the country since the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.