SPANAWAY, Wash. (AP) _ A 14-year-old girl apparently distraught over a failed romance and bad grades fatally shot her ex-boyfriend and another youth at their junior high school before killing herself, authorities said Wednesday.
The second youth was shot while trying to prevent Heather Smith from shooting her 15-year-old ex-boyfriend, Gordon Pickett, a witness said.
Pickett died in the snowy schoolyard Tuesday afternoon and Christopher Ricco, 14, died Tuesday night at Madigan Army Medical Center. The girl died at the hospital Wednesday morning, hospital spokesman Mark James said.
Both boys, members of the Spanaway Junior High School wrestling team, had been working out at the school gym in this suburban Tacoma community when the shootings occurred.
″Apparently the girl used to date one of these boys, and recently that relationship had gone sour,″ said Pierce County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark French. ″Apparently she was distraught over it.″
The girl also had slashed her wrists last week because she was depressed over bad grades, sheriff’s Sgt. Tom. Miner said.
″It was just one of those very tragic teen-age things,″ said Gerald Hosman, superintendent of the Bethel School District. ″None of them were discipline problems to my knowledge. It was just an impromptu depression and a resolution to that problem.″
French said youths who knew the girl said she told them she had decided to kill Pickett. She got a ″.22-caliber semi-automatic rifle that belonged to her family, loaded it, and got a ride over to the school with a friend,″ French said.
The friend, who was not identified, apparently didn’t know of her plans, he said.
Matt Hone, an eighth grader who witnessed the shooting, said he walked out of the gym to find her holding the rifle.
″Heather asked me to go find Pickett and bring him here,″ Hone said. ″What are you going to do, blow his brains out?″ Hone said he asked her.
″ ‘No, I don’t even know how to load this thing,’ ″ Hone recalled the girl saying.
At that moment, Hone said, Pickett and Ricco walked into view and Ms. Smith pointed the rifle at Pickett.
″Chris (Ricco) stepped in to try to stop her from shooting Pickett,″ said Hone, and both boys were shot. Hone said he ran away.
The girl also fled but returned, rifle in hand, several hours later.
″Officers confronted her and ordered her several times to drop her weapon and she refused,″ Miner said. ″Several officers were within (several) feet of her, and were slowly moving in to disarm her when she put the weapon to her head and pulled the trigger.″