The journal of the 15-year-old high school student who shot and killed a classmate in Oregon revealed that the teenager was an extremist Mormon who was out to kill “sinners.”
Freshman Jared Padgett, who was highly regarded for his spirituality by elders at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Gresham, walked into Reynolds High School carrying “an AR-15 type rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, ammunition and a large knife” on June 10 and opened fire, killing freshman Emilio Hoffman, injuring a teacher and committing suicide eventually.
While searching through his belongings, police discovered Padgett’s journal that revealed he was a devout Mormon who was on a mission to cleanse the world of sinners. Padgett, however, had not specified names of any students or teachers in his plans.
Earl Milliron, one of the church elders, said that Padgett had struggled to reconcile his faith after his parents’ divorce.
“I just can’t believe it. He was very quiet, very serious about his church. It was rather tragic, the breakup of the family, and that took a heavy toll on his dad,” he said.
The LDS church released a statement on June 11 that read as follows:
“With the entire community, we are shaken and profoundly troubled by this tragedy that has impacted the lives of so many families and individuals. We are praying for all those involved, and hope they will be given the peace they need during this difficult time.”
In the statement issued by Padgett’s family, it was evident that they were horrified and distraught by Jared’s actions. They clarified that they had never condoned such ideologies or promoted hatred and violence towards anyone.
“The values that we have taught our children are love in Jesus Christ, compassion, forgiveness, and patience,” wrote Michael Padgett, Jared’s father.