As seniors at Reynolds High School prepared for Thursday night’s graduation ceremonies, a fuller picture of the 15-year-old freshman who shot and killed another student this week before turning his gun upon himself is beginning to emerge.
Jared Michael Padgett, 15, is survived by his parents and five siblings.
The AP reports Padgett had a fascination with guns and planned to join the military, like his oldest brother, Lucas Padgett. Padgett was in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program. JROTC student Agustin Guzman told The Oregonian in an interview that while corps members were only required to wear either combat uniforms or a dress uniforms on Wednesday, often Padgett wore his on other days of the week, too.
Guzman also told the newspaper that Padgett was very organized.
“We have this thing where we had to learn how to fold the American flag correctly and I was in his group. He would get really irritated if we messed up,” Guzman told The Oregonian.
Other students said he seemed most engaged when he talked about guns.
“It was insane how much he knew. He would say all the types of guns and could name anything.” student Kaylah Ensign said in an interview with The Oregonian, adding that Padgett could be “respectful,” and seemed to be well-liked by his peers.
He was also devoted to his Mormon faith. Earl Milliron, a close friend of the Padgett family, told the AP in an interview that Padgett was ordained as a deacon when he was just 12 years old. The bishop of his church later appointed Padgett as president of the deacons’ quorum. Milliron said he saw Padgett at church every Sunday.
“His father never told me he was worried about Jared. And I never suspected that he had serious problems,” Milliron told the AP. “I refuse in my mind to believe that Jared Michael who did the shooting is the same Jared Michael I knew.”