Thursday, September 17, 2015

His Brother Used His Assault Rifle To Shoot Up A School, Now He Wants The Weapon And Ammo Back

(UPDATED, see at bottom)

Back in June of last year, there was yet another school shooting to horrify the nation, this time in my home state of Oregon, which I blogged about at the time.

A 15-year old boy, Jared Padgett, had gotten his brother's assault rifle, high-capacity ammo
14 year old victim, Emilio Hoffman (source)
magazines, and ballistics vest, and his father's handgun, then went to his school, Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.  He hid the weapons in a guitar case, calmly rode the school bus to school, then entered the gym building locker room and started shooting, killing an innocent 14-year old boy, Emilio Hoffman, and wounding a PE teacher, Todd Rispler.  A lockdown and police response ensued.  When guards showed up to shoot it out with Padgett, he fled to a bathroom and shot himself to death.

(Another boy, unrelated to Padgett and the shooting, was found to have a gun on campus, too, after police searched the grounds!  And just to add yet another gun crime to the event, a man showed up looking for his young sister, illegally armed with a concealed handgun).

Once again, the city, state, and nation were horrified, and demanded answers to how Jared had been armed with a high-powered firearm and why he committed this act.

Naturally, the police confiscated the guns, hundreds of rounds of remaining ammo, and other materials as evidence.

Now, the brother of the shooter, Lucas Padgett, wants his assault rifle, ammo, vest, and other materials back!  From an article:
15 year old shooter, Jared Padgett (source)

On Aug. 13, Lucas Padgett filed a motion requesting a judge order the City of Troutdale and State of Oregon to return property that he claims is still being held. 
Lucas Padgett writes in court documents that he is the “lawful owner” of the following property:
  • One (1) Daniel Defense Armament DDM4 Carbine Rifle Serial No. (Redacted);
  • Eight (8) 30 Rounds Magpul Magazines;
  • Several hundred rounds of ammunition;
    The assault rifle used in the shooting
  • One (1) ‘plate carrier’ vest;
  • One (1) United States Army issued ‘laundry bag.”
He writes that “on or about June 10, 2014 my above…property was stolen or otherwise converted by law enforcement.” Lucas Padgett claims that the items seized are no longer needed “for evidentiary purposes.” 
“These items belong to me, I have never been charged with any offense connected herewith,” Lucas Padgett writes. “I am entitled to their return and there is no legal impediment to my possession of said property.”

Now...   if a member of your family had recently shot up a school with an assault rifle, killed another student and wounded a teacher, then killed himself, would you demand the murder weapons back??  
Lucas Padgett, owner of murder weapon (source)

Sick, sick, sick.

He has no shame.

Does Lucas have a claim?  Yes, if the police have no further need for the weapons and other materials for the purpose of evidence, there is no reason to charge him with a crime, and Lucas Padgett is legally allowed to own firearms, then likely he has the right to get them back.  From the same article:

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office in Nov. 2014 announced it would not pursue criminal charges against Lucas Padgett or his father despite the fact that Jared Padgett had taken the weapons and ammunition from the Padgett residence. 
Investigators determined that both Lucas Padgett and his father had taken steps to secure and lock their firearms. In court filings, Multnomah County Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Davidson wrote in 2014 that “the State would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that either Michael (father) or Lucas (brother) Padgett were aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious physical injury to another person.” 
Davidson on Thursday said that even though the statue of limitations have not expired, there has been no discussion on re-considering file criminal charges against any member of the Padgett family. 
According to Sali, “at some point, either when the statue runs (out) or when there is no longer a plausible basis to say that the investigation is on-going, they have to give those back.”
And today a Judge agreed, saying that the city has 45 days to prove the items are needed as evidence, or return them as requested.

Legal rights aside, the demand to get the murder weapon and ammo back is a good indicator of the family and its "values."

After the shooting, the family of the shooter released a statement, saying they were "horrified and distraught" and that they had tried to instill good values in Jared, but they didn't take any responsibility for Jared's behavior:

“We are at a loss as to how and why this tragedy unfolded,” he said. 
“The values that we have taught our children are love in Jesus Christ, compassion, forgiveness and patience. These are all natural attributes we observed within Jared daily.”

I question those so-called "values" that they taught Jared and Lucas.  According to Jared's diary, he was on mission to "cleanse the world of sinners" as a fundamentalist Mormon.  The parents had just gone through a messy divorce and were fighting over custody.  Jared was described as "conceited at times" and had angry outbursts.  What's more, he (and I'm guessing the rest of his family) "loved guns," showed off the family guns and ammo to friends,  would "play around with knives more than anything else" and regularly went target shooting, including a couple weeks before the shooting.

Gee, with all that in mind, how could the family be "at a loss as to how and why this tragedy unfolded"?  Hardly a picture of the "family values" from the family statement.

But is the brother in any way responsible for the shooting or the motives or thoughts behind his brother?  I mean, it wasn't him who pulled the trigger, right?

Well, let's take a closer look at how the guns and ammo were stored.  According to an article, "Investigators determined that both Lucas Padgett and his father had taken steps to secure and lock their firearms."  But is that really true?

According to an article:
[Father] Michael Padgett told police that he kept his guns and knives in the closet of his bedroom, and he usually locks the door from the inside and closes it. Anyone seeking access would need a key to open the bedroom door, and he said his son Jared did not have the key. 
"I don't consider it any, umm, anything irresponsible on where they're at, how we store 'em, what the training has been, so on and so forth,'' Michael Padgett told detectives. "He's not a kid that gets into that stuff.'' 
I care to differ.  Clearly he was "a kid that gets into stuff" since he got into it and then killed a boy with it!
The AR-15 rifle that Padgett used in the school shooting, police determined, had been locked in a Pelican-brand gun case in the bedroom that Jared Padgett shared with his older brother, Lucas Padgett.
Okay, but where were the keys to the room and closets?  From that article:
Michael Padgett told investigators that Lucas Padgett had put a key on his father's key ring that was for one of two locks on the Pelican rifle case. ... 
Lucas Padgett told investigators he kept a Master lock on the Pelican case, and kept the case in his closet. He said he kept the key to the Master lock on his house and car key ring, which he sometimes leaves on his desk or hangs in the kitchen, the records show. He said he kept the key to a second lock on the case on his dad's key ring, the records show. 
When detectives asked him how he stored other ammunition in his closet, Lucas Padgett at one point said, "It's irrelevant." 
"It's irrelevant?'' state police detective Patti Rhodes asked in response. 
"Yeah, it's uh ... irrelevant,'' Lucas Padgett replied. 
"It might not be irrelevant,'' Portland police Det. Brett Hawkinson told Lucas Padgett. 
Lucas Padgett told police that he had 24 magazines of ammunition in total, including the two that were missing. 
Asked if his younger brother knew he had the rifle with loaded magazines inside the Pelican case, Lucas Padgett said yes. 
"Has he opened it before?'' the state police detective asked. 
"Yes,'' Lucas Padgett said.
No, it's not irrelevant.  It's completely relevant.  Only a complete moron leaves the ammo with the weapon in a home with an unstable kid.

And the keys were just laying or hanging around?  What good is locking something when you leave the keys out?

The family refused to allow police to enter the house to examine the locks until nearly 5 months (!) after the shooting.  At that time:
[Investigator] Ober found the bedroom door did have a basic lock on it "that could be unlocked from the outside with the use of a rudimentary key.'' The lock was functioning, Ober found. 
Investigators found that although Lucas Padgett failed to prevent his younger brother from gaining access to his rifle, the evidence showed that Lucas Padgett kept his rifle in a "locked container.'' 
Lucas Padgett could not be found to have violated Multnomah County code for endangering a child by preventing access to a loaded or unloaded firearm, because the firearm had been kept in a locked container, the district attorney's office found. 
For similar reasons, prosecutors said they would not bring charges against Jared's father, since they believe the father had his handgun locked in his bedroom.
But even if there had been locks on the father's door or the rifle case, clearly they either failed to engage the locks or they left the keys where the boy could get them.  In either case, it is negligence on the part of the father and brother...

... and they refuse to take responsibility for it.

And now the brother wants his murderous gun and ammo back.  What a sick person.  What a sick gun culture we have, that he's clearly part of.  And what a sick nation we are to allow assault rifles and high-capacity magazines to be in a person's possession at all, especially around children.

UPDATE (10/21/15):  In an agreement with Padgett, the City of Troutdale paid Padgett nearly $4000 to purchase the gun and all other evidence!  I guess it really is about the money to the brother of this murderer.  According to another article:
City officials said they reached out to Lucas Padgett and reached this “compromise that would be acceptable to all involved and help continue the healing process of this terrible tragedy.” 
At some point in the future, city officials said they would request an order for final disposition of Padgett’s property.