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Springfield Police Chief Reflects on Thurston Shooting

Springfield Police Chief Jerry Smith

Springfield Police Chief Jerry Smith

Springfield Police

Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut brings up the memory of Oregon’s deadliest school shooting, at Thurston High School in Springfield.

On May 21, 1998, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel went to school and started shooting. Two students died and 25 people were wounded. Kinkel had killed his parents the night before.

Jerry Smith, Springfield police chief, was a captain and acting chief at the time. He was one of the first responders.

“I know that there’s going to be a lot of emotion in that community,” Smith said. “And my heart and prayers go out to the parents of these kids, to the family members of the adults that were victimized and to the police and emergency services personnel that responded to deal with this. Because this is going to take a toll on a lot of people.”

Smith said that early on at Thurston there was a lot of conflicting and confusing information. Kip Kinkel was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

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