School Shooter Says He Lives With Shame of 1998 Attack

Kip Kinkel expresses concern over other school shootings, juvenile offender laws
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2021 11:00 AM CDT
1998 School Shooter Says He Might Still Be Causing Harm
Karen Lessar, left, and her son Hunter Lessar, 10, join Jackson Lane, 9, and his mother, Stefanie Wald, at a candlelight vigil in Springfield, on May 21, 2018, the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Thurston High School.   (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via AP)

Kip Kinkel is serving 112 years in an Oregon prison without a chance of parole for killing his parents in 1998, then opening fire at Thurston High School. He's trying to get that sentence changed. But he said he'll have to continue to live with the consequences of that day, per the Oregonian. "I have tremendous, tremendous guilt," Kinkel, 38, told the Huffington Post. "Tremendous, tremendous shame for my criminal actions, that I feel intensely to this day. Those are always there, and those will never go away." Kinkel shot his parents, William and Faith, to death that day, then killed two students at his school: Mikael Nickolauson, 17, and Ben Walker, 16. He also wounded 24 people there. They were all "completely innocent people," he said, adding that he loved his parents. Kinkel made the comments to the Huffington Post in telephone interviews over the past 10 months.

Kinkel said he began hearing voices when he was 12. He acquired guns, knives, explosives as his paranoia deepened; he began sleeping with a 9mm pistol his father got him. After a loaded .32-caliber handgun was found in his locker, he was expelled from school. That's when Kinkel's "whole world blew up," he said. The voices began to tell him that "everything was a threat, everything was evil, everything was ugly." They told him to kill his parents, he said. Then they said, "Go to school and kill everybody." Kinkel worries now that others are still paying for his actions. He said he feared that he inspired the Columbine High School attack and broke down when he learned of it. When state lawmakers considered a bill to no longer automatically send some juveniles' cases to adult court, his name was invoked. Kinkel said it upset him "they were going to use me" as a reason to not apply the measure to juveniles already serving time. "I have responsibility for the harm that I caused when I was 15," Kinkel said. "But I also have responsibility for the harm that I am causing now as I'm 38 because of what I did at 15." (More school shootings stories.)

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