On May 20, 1998, Kip Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School for being in possession of a loaded, stolen handgun. A friend, Korey Ewert, had stolen a pistol from Scott Keeney, the father of one of his friends, and arranged to sell the weapon to Kinkel the night before. Kinkel paid $110 for the Beretta .32 pistol loaded with a 9-round magazine, which he then placed in a paper bag and left in his locker. When Scott Keeney discovered he was missing a handgun, he reported it to the police and supplied the names of students he believed might have stolen the firearm. Kinkel’s name was not on the list. The school became aware of his possible involvement and questioned him. When he was checked for weapons, he reportedly stated: “Look, I’m gonna be square with you guys; the gun’s in my locker.” Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School, and he and Ewert were arrested. Kinkel was released from police custody and driven home by his father.
At home that afternoon, Bill Kinkel told Kip he would be sent to boarding school if he did not begin to cooperate. At 3:30 p.m., Kinkel retrieved his locked-up Sturm, Ruger rifle from his parents’ bedroom, loaded it, and went to the kitchen, where he shot his father in the back of the head.
He waited for his mother to come home. About 6:00 p.m., as she walked up the stairs from the garage, Kinkel told her that he loved her and shot her twice in the back of the head, three times in the face, and once in the heart.
He later claimed he wanted to protect his parents from the embarrassment that his expulsion would have caused them.
Kinkel dragged his mother’s body from the bottom of the stairs into the garage and dragged his father into the bathroom, where he locked the door. He placed a white sheet over each of the bodies. During the night, he also played the song “Liebestod” from the volume 2soundtrack of Romeo + Juliet repeatedly. It was still playing when the police arrived at the residence.
On May 21, Kinkel drove his mother’s Ford Explorer to the high school. He wore a trench coat to hide the four weapons he carried: a hunting knife, a 9 mm Glock 19 pistol, a Ruger .22 semi-automatic rifle, and a Ruger .22 pistol. He was carrying 1,127 rounds of ammunition.
He parked on North 61st Street, two blocks from the school, then walked to campus, entered the patio area and fired two shots, one fatally wounding Ben Walker and the other wounding Ryan Atteberry. Kinkel went to the cafeteria and, walking across it, fired the remaining 48 rounds from his rifle, wounding 24 students and killing 16-year-old Mikael Nicholauson. Kinkel fired a total of 50 rounds, accumulating 37 hits, and two fatalities.
When Kinkel’s rifle ran out of ammunition and he began to reload, wounded student Jacob Ryker tackled him, assisted by several other students. Kinkel drew the Glock and fired one shot before he was disarmed, injuring Ryker again as well as another student. The students restrained Kinkel until the police arrived and arrested him. A total of seven students were involved in subduing and disarming Kinkel.
Nicholauson died at the scene; Walker died after being transported to the hospital and kept on life support until his parents arrived. The other students, including Ryker, were also taken to the hospital with a variety of wounds. Ryker had a perforated lung, but he made a full recovery.