the killer at thurston high
Transcript (60 minute version)

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THE KILLER AT THURSTON HIGH (60:00)

(Rebroadcast on PBS, May 2004)

 

[TV set in living room]

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN:
It has happened again, death by gunfire at another school in the United States.

Eugene, oregon.

it had always been a quiet place...

...untouched...REMOTE.

then it changed...

NEWS ANCHOR:
We begin tonight with a deadly shooting in an American high school.

PETER JENNINGS, ABC News:
This time the boy was 15. It was in the school cafeteria that he went after his fellow students...

a boy everyone knew became a killer...

PETER JENNINGS:
...and once again the violence unfolded in front of disbelieving teenagers.

JUDY WOODRUFF:
At least one student is dead in Springfield, Oregon-

...blood shed at an american school...

TOM BROKAW, NBC News
This is the latest in a shocking series of shootings during the school term, killing-

and at home--

JUDY WOODRUFF
His name is Kipland Kinkel. He is 15 years old.

he had also killed his parents.

JUDY WOODRUFF
The bodies of a man and a woman were found in Kinkel's home. They had been shot to death.

Tonight--on FRONTLINE: The Killer at Thurston High.

[FRONTLINE TITLE...]

KRISTIN KINKEL, Kip's Sister
It was about 7:00 A.M. in Hawaii. I get a phone call from my friend, and she says, "I have some bad news. There's been a shooting at Thurston."

RICHARD BUSHNELL, Kinkel Family Friend
I hear kids screaming

DON STONE, Thurston Football Coach
And I heard some "Pop, pop, pop, pop."

TONY McCOWN, Kip's Friend
This mom was yelling, "He's got a gun! Get out of here!"

DON STONE
I could smell blood, and looked and saw blood spurting out of legs-

KRISTIN KINKEL
She's watching the news, so she's giving me little bits of information. Finally I said, "Is that why you're calling me? Is Kip hurt?" She said, "Well, Kip was involved. I don't know any more. I'm watching the news right now. I'll call you back." Click.

NEWS REPORTER
Before Kip came to school, he killed his parents-

KRISTIN KINKEL
And finally, I was speaking to a member of the sheriff's department. "Is it true?" I said, "Are my parents dead?" And she said, "Yes, they are."

And I turned the T.V. on, and there was my house, the helicopters flying all over the place, and yellow tape. Then of course, the phone started ringing as people started finding out.

[Still picture of Kip Kinkel, push in]

THE PEOPLE WHO KNEW KIP KINKEL, STILL SPEND TIME TRYING TO REMEMBER HIS LIFE...

LOOKING FOR SIGNS, THEY SEE NOTHING REMARKABLE...

BUT THERE WERE ...EPISODES...MOMENTS...FRAGMENTS...

[Sound up of helicopter]

THE STORY BEGINS 15 YEARS EARLIER...DEEP IN THESE WOODS JUST OUTSIDE EUGENE OREGON...

RICHARD BUSHNELL
They built the house out there, and they loved it out there because it's a very natural setting. It was quiet. There's animals. So they just loved the setting.

MARCIA BUSHNELL, Kinkel Family Friend
Even in the design of the house. It was this A-frame, kind of like you'd see at a ski lodge or something like that. It was almost like going home every night to a recreation haven, retreat.

[Picture of Bill and Faith Kinkel]

BILL AND FAITH KINKEL WERE DETERMINED TO LIVE THE GOOD LIFE IN OREGON.

THEY STARTED A FAMILY...

AND NAMED THEIR FIRST CHILD KRISTIN...AND SIX YEARS LATER THEY WOULD GIVE HER A BROTHER.

[Picture of baby Kip]

THEY CALLED KIPLAND "KIP" FOR SHORT...

[Schoolbus]

BILL AND FAITH WERE HIGH SCHOOL SPANISH TEACHERS...

FRIENDS SAY THEY EXPECTED THEIR CHILDREN WOULD EXCELL...

AND KIP'S SISTER KRISTIN DID...

BUT IT WAS A DIFFERENT STORY WHEN KIP STARTED SCHOOL...HIS PROBLEMS WERE BAD ENOUGH THAT BILL AND FAITH RELUCTANTLY AGREED TO HOLD HIM BACK IN FIRST GRADE...

MARCIA BUSHNELL
That was really tough because then, all of a sudden, here are all of his friends going on, and he's back.

KASEY GUIANEN
He was mad because his friends got to go on, and he didn't. So he was kind of mad at his parents about that. He'd say something every now and then. I think he thought that his friends would just, you know, think different of him or something.

KRISTIN KINKEL
I remember he would get his 3's and his E's confused, and B's and D's. And he'd always- when he'd write, he'd write them wrong. But it was really frustrating for him, as it would be for anyone. And of course he felt bad about himself because he didn't understand what was wrong with him and why everybody else in his family was so good at it. Why couldn't he be good at it, too?

IT WAS DIAGNOSED AS DYSLEXIA...A LEARNING DISABLITY.

JANE BRODERICK, Faith's Friend
He would have cared that he was a disappointment. They were a very successful couple- high expectations. I would think that you would want to not disappoint them, to do the right thing.

BILL KINKEL:
[Kinkel family home video]
Look around. See what I'm doing? Kristin's busy driving.

MALE VOICE
Just don't ask her to turn around, please.

BILL KINKEL
No. No. She's waving. Everything looks under control up there.

FAMILY MOVIES SHOW 10 year old KIP'S EFFORTS TO KEEP UP...

KIP KINKEL
You gotta jump, Dad!

BILL KINKEL
I think you're right.

RICHARD BUSHNELL
It's kind of always you grow up with an awareness of a little bit of inadequacy.

KIP KINKEL
Oh! Sorry!

BILL KINKEL
Kristin's going to show us some- some headstands, handstands. Look at that! Can you believe that? Kip's doing a handstand. I think that Kip needs some more work. But he's eager. He's eager.

KRISTIN KINKEL
Of course he felt compared. I know he felt compared. I'm sure it was hard.

BILL KINKEL
See Kristin? Kristin continues to show her- show us her- her gymnastics training and truly being experienced. Wow!

KRISTIN KINKEL
I'm sure teachers did. I'm sure friends of the family did. I'm sure my parents did, in their own little way. But as far as letting him be aware of it, they tried really hard not to because they know how important that is.

BILL KINKEL
How about, Kristin, some handsprings now?

KRISTIN KINKEL
Those were handsprings!

BILL KINKEL
What do you call it when you do it side by side, side handsprings?

KRISTIN KINKEL
Cartwheels?

BILL KINKEL
Cartwheels. That's what I'm trying to say.

KRISTIN KINKEL
These?

BILL KINKEL
Yeah. Do a bunch of those. Faster! Play like you're a windmill in an 80-degree or 80-

MALE VOICE
Oh, there she goes into the hedge!

FAITH KINKEL
[home video]
She has just entered the car, adjusting the seatbelt.

AND THEN KRISTIN LEFT FOR COLLEGE... KIP WAS LEFT BEHIND...

FAITH KINKEL
A kiss good-bye, and off she goes! Good-bye!

KRISTIN KINKEL
I saw myself a lot of times as a mediator between my parents and my brother. My parents were getting older, and my parents were in their mid-50s. There's a huge generation gap in between there. You know, one little thing that he would do would be awful. And a lot of times I found myself saying, "Settle down. Relax. Think about it. Think about the students that you teach. What he did was not that bad."

And when I left, they didn't have that. I'm sure- I'm sure it was harder.

WITHOUT KRISTIN AROUND AS A BUFFER, KIP AND HIS FATHER BILL BEGAN TO HAVE CONFLICTS...

AND AT JUST THIS TIME...THERE WAS TROUBLE WITH SOME KIDS AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL....

MARCIA BUSHNELL
I was saying, "Well, what's it like in middle school?" And he said, "Well, you know, you could be getting a drink of water at the water fountain, and somebody pushes your head into the water." And I said, "I don't- that seems really awful." And he said- I said, "Did that ever happen to you?" And he said, "Yes, but not anymore." And I said, "Wow." And he says, "Well, I just don't get- I don't go to the water fountain, or I look around and make sure there's nobody around before I get a drink now." He said, "I've had to learn to- to kind of be alert."

IN SELF DEFENSE KIP WAGED A CAMPAIGN TO GET HIS PARENTS TO ENROLL HIM IN A KARATE CLASS...

DICK BUSHNELL
I think Kip was interested in some self-defense because he just wasn't real happy with some things that some kids would say to him, and he wanted to be able to have the confidence of being able to protect himself if he needed to.

EVEN THOUGH BILL AND FAITH THOUGHT KARATE WAS TOO VIOLENT... THEY FINALLY GAVE IN TO KIP...

JANE BRODERICK
You're always, as a parent, hunting for things for them to feel good about, and then he doesn't feel like he was a disappointment. I feel like that's why Faith and Bill spent as much time hunting for things for him to do. Karate was one of those things. Oftentimes, kids, with the difficulties that he had- it tends to wear on them even more. "I'm not like all the other kids. I'm not as good as they are. I have these problems, and I'm a disappointment to my parents." And instead of having that be able to help them make some positive changes, it tends to make them make negative choices.

KIP STARTED TO HANG WITH THE TOUGH GUYS...THE KIDS WHO RODE THE SCHOOL BUS EVERYDAY...

TONY McCOWN, Kip's Friend
The skaters, smokers group. They definitely get in trouble. Like, these guys have spent time in juvenile detention and been expelled from school, like, every year since 6th grade and- just endless trouble.

AND THEN, AT THE LOCAL MALL, KIP AND HIS NEW FRIENDS GOT IN TROUBLE....

TONY McCOWN
In about 8th grade, he was stealing CDs from, like, a local store. They had, like, razor blades that they'd just, like, slice off the, like, sensor. I've heard them say they had over 100 at times.

KIP WAS EVENTUALLY CAUGHT...HIS PARENTS...UPSET... OFFERED KIP A DIVERSION...HE LOVED COMPUTERS...SO THEY DECIDED TO LET HIM START SPENDING TIME ON LINE...

BRYAN MABE, Kip's Friend
He could just go up there and do whatever he wanted. You know, a lot of parents don't check on their kids when they're in their room. Because they're in their room, they're safe.

THE POLICE LATER FOUND THE RECORDS OF KIP'S INTERNET ACTIVITY...INCLUDING VISITS TO PORN SITES...

AS HE WEB SURFED, KIP OFTEN LISTENED TO HIS FAVORITE MUSIC.

HE PRINTED AND FRAMED THE WORDS FROM ONE OF HIS FAVORITES..."THE REFLECTING GOD" BY MARILYN MANSON...

[ON SCREEN: "NO FORGIVENESS, NO SALVATION, NO FORGIVENESS, NO SALVATION, NO FORGIVENESS"]

AT THE SAME TIME, KIP DEVELOPED ANOTHER INTEREST: HE BECAME FASCINATED WITH EXPLOSIVES...

BRYAN MABE
I think that's when he started getting involved with the bombs in his room, and his parents never really checked on him. He was at home, so they think he's automatically safe, but he was, you know, doing some pretty bad stuff.

TONY McCOWN
Him and a bunch of guys got together and ordered some bomb-making books or bomb-making materials.

THEY USED THE SCHOOL'S COMPUTER...AND HAD THE MATERIALS SENT THERE...AND WHEN IT SHOWED UP, THEY WERE CAUGHT...

DEBBIE CULLEN, Faith's Friend and Colleague
And they called Faith and Bill about it, and they had to go down there. But that was real upsetting to her. And Kip said that he felt like it would be good to know because he was interested in becoming a policeman. And so I think she probably felt that was maybe true, but probably not.

IN TIME KIP GOT THE BOOKS HE WANTED AND YEARS LATER THE POLICE FOUND THEM WHEN THEY SEARCHED HIS ROOM...

KRISTIN KINKEL
He and a group of friends had ordered a book about building bombs. And in fact, I think he even did a report using that book, for school. Just because you order a book doesn't mean that you're- oh, I don't know what to say about that. I mean, I-

AND KIP HAD ANOTHER INTEREST--GUNS.

BUT BILL AND FAITH HAD MADE IT CLEAR THAT OWNING A GUN WAS NOT THE KINKEL WAY...

KRISTIN KINKEL
My parents were both really, really concerned about it. He had been interested in guns from as far as I can remember, from a little, little boy. And he was not allowed to have little soldiers. He was not allowed to have any kind of toy that had any kind of violent anything. I mean, violence in our house was a huge no-no.

BUT THE EVIDENCE GATHERED BY THE POLICE tells a different story:

kip had asked his parents for a bb gun.

the police found two...one fashioned to look like an assault rifle...the other with its stock sawed off...

kip wanted a knife. HIS PARENTS GAVE HIM ONE

eventually he would gather an entire collection.

then kip wanted a real gun.

Bill asked a friend what to do...

DENNY SPERRY, Bill's Friend
He did come to me because he knew that I was raised around guns. He said he was really concerned. And he had such an obsession with guns that they thought maybe it was the best thing to go ahead. And I remember telling him, I said, "Hey, if you don't buy him a gun, it's going to be like forbidden fruit." He said "You know, that's exactly what Faith and I were talking about, because it's come to that point. And as much as we don't want to, we're at our wits' end."

bill had been given a rifle as a boy...on his 12th birthday...kip received it from his father and mother...

JANE BRODERICK, Faith's Friend
He had worn them down. And she didn't like the idea. She wasn't comfortable with it. You know, if she talked to people that also felt that way- "And yet what do I do? What do I do? We've been saying no, no, no, no. It's not gotten any better. It just seems to be getting worse. We're fighting more about it. What else do I do?"

then...more trouble.

on a school field trip kip and one of the TOUGH GUyS were arrested...

TONY McCOWN, Kip's Friend
They were tossing pebbles off an overpass. I don't think they were really directed at the cars. If they hit them, yeah, but if they- they were just kind of tossing them. And one of them picked up, like, a fairly decent-sized rock and tossed it over.

a passing car was hit. it was kip's first felony.

his parents picked him up from jail...

ARRESTING OFFICER
Mr. Kinkel was angry at the situation. He was angry at the problems that they were having with Kip, and he was, like, at the end of his rope, trying to figure out how to get this kid back on the right path.

DICK BUSHNELL
At that time, Bill must have been frustrated. I didn't ever see Bill angry very much, but I'm sure he must have been frustrated. And it's kind of, like, "How much farther is this going to have to go on?" It's kind of, like, "At what point is Kip going to turn the corner and we're not going to have to go bail him out anymore?"

So I mean, Bill and Faith had pride. They were highly, highly respected people, highly intelligent people, and it's one of those things where they had to wear whatever Kip did, too, in the eyes of their friends. And there may have been some shame for them.

DEBBIE CULLEN
I think Bill would be maybe a little impatient with the messier parts of life, and to understand Kip would have been difficult. I don't think he was as complex, emotionally, as Kip was. Or Faith. Faith would be much more willing to search out education or solutions of any type that would help, you know, any sort of counseling, or visit any doctor that might be able to help.

faith began lobbying to take kip to a psychologist.

bill RESISTED, SAYING it would cost too much...and probably wouldn't help...

KRISTIN KINKEL
My mom was the one who said, "This is what we need. We should do this." My dad wasn't too excited about it. I think he felt that psychologists were kind of like chiropractors, in the sense that they may not be as heavily needed as we think.

FINALLY, bill relented.

faith took kip to see Dr. Jeffrey hicks.

she offered a list of worries:

kip's temper...the shoplifting...rock-throwing incident...explosives, knives and guns...

after meeting with kip the doctor wrote:

"He became tearful when discussing his relationship with his father. He reported his mother views him as a 'good kid with some bad habits,' while his father sees him as 'a bad kid with bad habits.' He feels his father expects the worst from him."

"He cannot discuss his feelings with his father for fear he will become angry with him."

THEN KIP TOLD THE DOCTOR HOW HE RELIEVED HIS ANGER:

"Kip reported he makes explosives from gasoline and other household items and detonates them at a nearby quarry to vent feelings of anger. If he has a bad day at school, he feels better after detonating an explosive."

SOON AFTER, ON THAT BUS RIDE INTO SCHOOL...KIP'S ANGER SURFACED IN ANOTHER WAY...

TONY McCOWN, Kip's Friend
They were making fun of each other on the bus. They get off the bus, and the kid called him a name, and Kip jump-kicked him in the head. And then he was called down to the office.

And he came back, he shoves open the door and stomps through, and he was really, really upset. He was yelling and screaming and crying - he wanted the kid's address - and grabbed his stuff and left. And that's when he got suspended.

he'd already been caught cheating...and acting out in class...now the school suspended him...

IN THERAPY KIP WAS TELLING DR. HICKS "EATING IS A CHORE...OFTEN HE FEELS BORED AND IRRITABLE....HE WAKES UP TIRED."

HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER...THE KINKEL'S FAMILY DOCTOR PRESCRIBED PROZAC...

A FAMILY FRIEND SAID THE PSYCHOLOGIST ADVISED BILL KINKEL TO LIGHTEN UP ON KIP.

BILL TRIED...HE'D EVEN TALK ABOUT GUNS WITH KIP...

AND SO, ACCORDING TO THE PSYCHOLOGIST, DID HE. ...DR. HICKS WAS A GUN ENTHUSIAST...OWNED AT LEAST FOUR PISTOLS...TWO WERE HIGH-END GLOCKS...IN THERAPY HE TOLD KIP HE WAS VERY SATISFIED WITH HIS GLOCKS...

KIP WANTED ONE.

DEBBIE CULLEN
The older he got and he got into more dangerous things, she recognized they were into something they didn't really know how to deal with.

BILL--HOPING FOR A CONNECTION WITH HIS SON--SEEMED READY TO GIVE HIM A GLOCK.

FAITH--TORN--WENT ALONG...

DEBBIE CULLEN
I think she felt, like, "I don't know what to do. Maybe Bill's right." Even though she couldn't see it from her own point of view, sometimes you feel, like, if you can't resolve a problem and you don't understand somebody else's point of view, at least let them try, because that might be a solution.

THE PSYCHOLOGIST HAS TOLD FRONTLINE HE WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND A GUN TO A PATIENT LIKE KIP.

BUT KIP REALLY WANTED THE GLOCK--HE KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT IT--SEMI-AUTOMATIC...10 ROUNDS...POLYMER PLASTIC--LAW ENFORCMENT'S FIRST CHOICE IN THE DRUG WARS...

AND IN A SURPRISE MOVE BILL DECIDED TO BUY IT...

JANE BRODERICK
That's the only thinking I can come up with about the gun. I can see a child like Kip just not letting up. Just like a dog with a rag, it just won't let it go, you know? And I can see where they finally say, "Fine. Let's try this. We'll go do the gun safety class. We'll do it together. You'll get it out of your system, and then it will be okay."

BILL SET RULES: KIP HAD TO PAY OFF THE GUN...IT WOULD BE LOCKED UP...KIP COULD ONLY FIRE THE GUN WHEN BILL WAS WITH HIM.

AND DURING THAT SUMMER--AFTER NINE SESSIONS WITH THE PSYCHOLOGIST--KIP SEEMED BETTER.

THE THERAPY WAS OVER...

KRISTIN KINKEL
I remember my mom calling me and- very excited, telling me that Kip was doing so much better. The psychologist even said, "You don't even have to see me anymore, you're doing that much better."

HE'D TAKEN PROZAC FOR THREE MONTHS...THEN KIP WANTED TO STOP...AND HIS PARENTS WENT ALONG...

IT WAS TIME TO ENTER THURSTON HIGH...

WHERE HIS FATHER HAD RETIRED AS A LEGEND...

AND NOW TRIED TO SMOOTH THE WAY FOR HIS SON...

DON STONE, Thurston Football Coach
I can remember Bill saying, "Stoney, I need some help with my son. I'm a little concerned about him getting a good start at Thurston High School. You got any advice?" And I said, "Well, Bill, why don't we get him out for football? That might be a good place for him to establish a good peer group, and I can guarantee you he'll go home and he'll be ready to go to bed at night." And he said, "Great."

120 POUND KIP TURNED OUT FOR FOOTBALL...THEY MADE HIM A LINEMAN...

BRYAN MABE, Kip's Friend
He was, like, second, third string so- and he was a pretty scrawny guy, so he wanted to lift weights more, with the rest of the football players. He just wanted to- told me that he just wanted to be big and, like, stuff like that.

FOOTBALL ONLY SEEMED TO MAKE KIP'S ISOLATION WORSE...

HE SOMETIMES WROTE OUT RANDOM THOUGHTS...

"I sit here all alone. I am always alone. I don't know who i am. I want to be something i can never be. I try so hard every day. But in the end, i hate myself for what i've become. I sound so pitiful. People would laugh at this if they read it."

but kip's mom faith apparently didn't see her son's anguish...

JANE BRODERICK, Faith's Friend
I remember one comment, when she said, "I think we've turned the corner," and I feel like she always felt that and believed it. And I think you need to believe it. And maybe the comment was more of that desperate hope, trying to convince herself. "We're turning a corner. We're going to get better. Wish I could believe it."

by now bill had once again given in to kip's lobbying for a gun--this time it was a .22 caliber ruger semi-automatic rifle.

THE KINKLE HOUSE WAS BECOMING AN ARSENAL...

the police would later find IT:

the 9 millimeter glock--from bill...

the semi-automatic ruger rifle bill also bought...

a 20-gauge sawed-off shotgun...

the marlin rifle bill had as a young boy that he gave kip for his 12th birthday...

A LEVER ACTION RIFLE BILL HAD AS A BOY AND HAD ONCE HIDDEN IN THE GARAGE...

A .22 CALIBRE RUEGER PISTOL BILL HAD HAD FOR YEARS...

another secretly acquired .22 calibre handgun....

and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Answer to an essay question:

"I really wouldn't know how to answer this question because my cold, black heart has never and never will experience true love. I can tell you one about love. It does more harm than good. I plan to live in a big, black hole. My firearms will be the only things to fight my isolation. I would also like to point out love is a horrible thing. It makes things kill and hate."

at this time...kip's first teen romance had come to an end...

KASEY GUIANEN
She would- not reject him, but kind of lead him on, just be, like, "Oh, I don't know," you know? Or she'd be, like, "Well, we can just- we can be friends," but then- I don't know. So he was getting really frustrated. You know, he didn't know what to do.

KIP'S ROMANCE BEGAN JUST WHEN HIS ENGLISH CLASS STARTED TO STUDY ROMEO AND JULIET...

VANGE BIGHAM, English Teacher
I would not be surprised at Kip's love of the play, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Vange Bigham, a friend of Faith's, teaches English at the other Springfield high school.

VANGE BIGHAM
I see that every year, the beginning of second semester. Sometimes we like to think it's in conjunction with Valentine- the young lovers and all of that.

Kip's class watched a modern retelling of the story starring Leonardo Di Caprio

VANGE BIGHAM
If you think about it, all the issues that Kip was dealing with, his love of- you know, this violent feelings, or whatever, the angst and tension with his parents- at one point the father in there says, "My hand itches," he wants to hit that kid so bad. It's- all of the things that Kip would be dealing with are probably in that play. I bet he identified with a lot of it.

THE POLICE LATER FOUND LETTERS MENTIONING ROMEO AND JULIET PASSED BETWEEN KIP AND HIS GIRLFRIEND...

VANGE BIGHAM
The question that I will give my students is: "Whose fault is it? Is it the kids? I mean, they committed suicide. Is it the friar? Is it the prince, because he let this stuff go on? Is it the parents?"

Guess who they always blame? The parents.

"I feel like everyone is against me, but no one ever makes fun of me, mainly because they think I'm a psycho. There is one kid above all others that I want to kill. I want nothing more than to put a hole in his head. The one reason I don't: hope that tomorrow will be better. As soon as my hope is gone, people die."

BY THE END OF HIS FRESHMAN YEAR--MAY OF 1998--KIP AND HIS FRIENDS WERE TALKING ABOUT A NEW PHENOMENON--SCHOOL SHOOTINGS...

IN SEPTEMBER--PEARLE CITY, MISSISSIPPI...

LATER THAT FALL--PADUCAH, KENTUCY...

IN THE SPRING, JONESBORO, ARKANSAS...

TONY McCOWN, Kip's Friend
He reacted to the other school shootings, their shortcomings, almost- like, how they failed. He talked about how- not that he'd do it that exact way, like, go to school and shoot people, but if he was going to go out, he'd try to take as many people out with him. And also, if he was going to shoot people, like, at a school, that he'd kill himself. And like, he couldn't believe that the other kids didn't just shoot themselves instead of sitting there and being arrested. So that's what he'd said.

AT HOME--THE TRUCE WITH HIS FATHER WAS OVER. KIP TOLD FRIENDS BILL WAS TRYING TO TAKE AWAY HIS GUNS.

FAITH'S FRIENDS REMEMBER SHE ALWAYS LOOKED TIRED AND WORRIED...

DEBBIE CULLEN, Faith's Friend and Colleague
I think the great fear was that she didn't know him, that she could not understand him, and what was happening between them. Where was this little boy that she loved all these years? I think that was the fear, that it would be something maybe where they would lose him forever.

THEN...ONE MORNING AT THURSTON HIGH KIP BOUGHT A STOLEN .32 CALIBER BARETTA.

HE HID IT IN HIS LOCKER AND WENT TO CLASS...

BUT POLICE HAD BEEN TIPPED OFF THAT KIP KINKEL HAD PAID $110 FOR THE GUN...

BRYAN MABE
Kip and I were in study hall when the hall monitor came in and grabbed Kip to go with him. I mean, he didn't do it in a violent way. He just- "Come with me," and Kip got up and left.

Det. AL WARTHEN, Springfield Police Dept.
I patted him down for any weapons, and I noticed that Kip was extremely nervous. And with that, complete surprise to me, he said, "Well, I'm going to be square with you guys. The gun's in my locker."

And that's exactly where I found it, in a bag. I looked into the bag. There was a black Baretta .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol. In checking the weapon, I determined that is was fully loaded with eight rounds of ammunition in the clip.

KIP WAS CERTAIN HE WOULD BE EXPELLED...

DON STONE
Within 10 minutes, we had a black-and-white out in front of my window. I can remember distinctly seeing Kip in the cuffs and driving off.

AFTER KIP WAS booked The police called Bill.

Det. AL WARTHEN
He seemed quite surprised, quite shocked that his son had been arrested and brought to the police department. In fact, he says, "Kip? Kip had a gun at school?" I said, "Yes," and then asked him if he could come to the police department. And he says, "I'll be right there."

KIP WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF FIREARM IN A PUBLIC BUILDING AND THE FELONY CHARGE OF RECEIVING A STOLEN WEAPON.

HE WAS RELEASED TO HIS FATHER...

Det. AL WARTHEN
And with that, I asked him if he had any other questions, and he said, " No, that'll be fine." He got up, he put his hand on Kip's shoulder, and the two of them walked out and left the police department.

KASEY GUIANEN, Kip's Friend
I think getting expelled from school, that his parents would really come down hard on him for that. That's a big thing.

JANE BRODERICK, Faith's Friend
I can see Bill just having gathered all those guns- "This is gone. That'll be the last time you ever see this."

DENNY SPERRY, Bill's Friend
I can just imagine what happened. Bill laid the law down to him, said "Okay, that's it." You know, "This is going to end right here, one way or the other. He's either going to straighten up or he's going to ship out."

THEN, According to police , WHILE BILL SAT at the kitchen counter...

Kip CAME DOWN THE STAIRS FROM HIS bedroom ARMEd WITH THE RUGER RIFLE...

HE aimed at the back of his father's head AND fired.

FAITH WAS STILL IN TOWN. UNAWARE OF KIP'S EXPULSION AND ARREST...

KASEY GUIANEN
He was closer with his mom. I think because he killed his dad, he couldn't go back. And he- I mean, how is he supposed to tell Mom "I killed Dad?" You know, how would- I can't even imagine how you would say that. And so I think from that point, from when he pulled the trigger, it was- it was all over.

Around 6:00 o'clock, Faith came home.

Kip told police that as Faith was walking up the garage steps into the house, HE said, "I love you, Mom," and fired.

Two shots struck the back of Faith's head. A third pierced her forehead above the left eye. Kip fired another into her left cheek and another at close range in the center of his mother's forehead and another into her heart.

Alone-- his father's body locked behind the bathroom door, his mother dead on the garage floor, Kip Kinkel played a favorite CD.

hitting the continuous repeat button on the CD player. It would play, the soundtrack from thE movie he had watched in English class, Romeo and Juliet.

KASEY GUIANEN, Kip's Friend
The way I think of it, he'd already killed his parents, and I think he didn't know what to do. Like, when he was little, when he got mad, he'd get frustrated. And he gets himself in a corner and doesn't know where to go or- he just doesn't think straight, and he just doesn't know what to do. And I think he really wanted to kill himself, but didn't have the guts to. He didn't- he couldn't do it. He's- I don't know. He's- he's like a little boy. He just couldn't do it.

Kip loaded the Glock.

He filled a gym bag with extra ammo.

He taped two bullets to his chest and a knife around his ankle. He left behind some home-made bombs and wrote this note:

"I have just killed my parents. I am a horrible son. I wish I had been aborted."

Then a new line to this dark narrative Kip was creating, something he had never mentioned to his psychologist. "My head just doesn't work right... these voices inside my head."

And then he waited for the dawn.

BRYAN MABE, Kip's Friend
He wanted to take out himself, and he wanted to take out his schoolmates - some of them - just not to go out alone. Being alone was his weakness. He was always worried about being alone all the time, isolated and stuff like that.

The next morning, Kip dressed for school, HE put on A trenchcoat to hide the Ruger semi-automatic rifle. He put on a hat with the logo from his favorite band, Nine Inch Nails.

And for the first and only time in his life, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel drove alone in his parents' Ford Explorer.

Kip arrived at Thurston AT 7:45 A.M. He parked down the end of this road. It took nearly four minutes to walk the road by the tennis courts. As he rounded this corner, the school surveillance camera captured these shots of him.

The hallway was nearly empty. As he walked along, he bumped into a friend.

BRYAN MABE
Adam didn't know it was Kip until Kip turned around and was, like, "Okay, you need to get out of here, Adam. Something bad's going to happen." And Adam was just, like, "What are you talking about?" Kip was just- no expression on his face. And Adam goes, "What are you going to do?" And that's when, you know, Kip just turned around, didn't even look at Ben, and fired, not even caring or nothing, like he had no emotion about anything.

911 OPERATOR
911. What is your emergency?

CALLER
This is Thurston High School. We have a gun on campus with someone shooting. We need help right away.

Sixteen-year-old Ben Walker was shot in the head.

911 OPERATOR
911. What is your emergency?

CALLER
I believe there's been a shooting. Kids are running everywhere.

911 OPERATOR
Do you know the juvenile's name at all?

Ten seconds later, Kip reached the cafeteria. Shooting from the hip, he fired 48 shots from the semi-automatic rifle. It took less than a minute. Kip hit 24 students. He walked up to one of them, put the rifle to 17-year-old Mikael Nickolauson's head and fired.

DON STONE, Thurston Football Coach
As I ran across the courtyard, one of our young men screamed at me, "It's Kinkel!" And then I immediately ran through the cafeteria and jumped over a couple of kids. The first thing that hit me was I could smell blood. And looked, and quiet, but saw a lot of kids down, a lot of wounds, blood spurting out of legs and those sorts of things, and felt fear because I didn't realize that Kip was being tackled, off to the left.

Kip's rifle was out of ammunition. He pulled the Glock from his belt just as he was rushed by a group of students. Kip got off one shot. They beat him into submission as he screamed, "Just kill me!"

The police hustled Kip out of the cafeteria. In custody, he pulled the knife taped to his leg and attacked a police officer shouting, "Just kill me! Just shoot me!"

The police headed for the KINKEL RESIDENCE...

Det. SPENCE SLATER, Lane County Sheriff's Dept.
There was some concern as to the welfare of his parents. We could tell upon approach that there's loud opera-type music playing. And it's very loud, and it's to the point of being distracting.

And the house is completely dark. And we notice only one vehicle in the driveway, and it's a Volkswagen van. And for all intents and purposes, it appears that no one is home.

And the first open door we come to was in the front of the residence on the main floor. It's best described as eerie. The music's coming from somewhere on the right of the room. There's a fireplace on the left of the room. There's the smell of wood smoke from an open fireplace. The room is cool, and you can tell that it's probably heated with wood, so it's got a cabin-type or- except that's its really- it's really kind of- it's eerie. It's dark. The music's loud. There's bullets on the floor.

It's to the point where we are yelling over it. We're trying to announce ourselves, that "We're the police. We're here. Whoever may be in residence," and you have to yell to be heard over that music. It's a CD of Romeo and Juliet, and it was set on continuous play, so it was playing when we got there, and it had been playing over and over, apparently.

And you have some indication that Bill and Faith Kinkel are going to be dead. I believe a paper clip from the office is used to unlock the bathroom door on the main floor. And just inside that bathroom door, I see a gentleman that's obviously deceased. He's laying on his back. He's covered with a sheet. His feet are up against the door. We have to kind of move his feet away from the door so we can get in there and check on him.

At this point, we're still missing one parent. And we're going through systematically and checking doors, and it is found that a small door just off the main hallway has a narrow flight of stairs that goes down. And we go down in there, and there's evidence on the floor. There's a considerable amount of blood on the floor. And on the basement floor, on the concrete, we find Faith Kinkel. She's also deceased and covered by a sheet.

[police audiotape]

POLICE OFFICER
This will be a taped conversation with the last name of Kinkel, K-i-n-k-e-l, first of Kipland, K-i-p-l-a-n-d.

Tell me what happens when you get home.

KIP KINKEL
[crying] I had no other choice! I couldn't-

POLICE OFFICER
You were feeling really guilty?

KIP KINKEL
Yeah.

POLICE OFFICER
Okay, so was your dad- did he hit you or anything like that?

KIP KINKEL
No.

POLICE OFFICER
Okay. Was he yelling or out of control or-

KIP KINKEL
I couldn't- I couldn't let- I had no other choice! God! [crying] I had no other choice. He was saying all this- [crying]

POLICE OFFICER
Okay, he's mad at you because you got caught in school with the gun, right?

KIP KINKEL
Right.

POLICE OFFICER
Okay.

KIP KINKEL
And I [unintelligible] all his friends and everything knew my [unintelligible]

POLICE OFFICER
Okay, so he was feeling ashamed and embarrassed because you did something wrong, is that right?

KIP KINKEL
Right. I didn't want to! I love my dad! That's why I had to- [crying]

POLICE OFFICER
You love him, so that's why you had to kill him?

KIP KINKEL
Yes. [crying] Oh, my God! My parents were good people. I didn't know what to do because- oh, my God! My mom was coming home, and if she knew what I'd done, she'd- oh, my God! [crying]

POLICE OFFICER
Okay. So your mom comes home about 6:00, is that right.

KIP KINKEL
Yes. [crying]

POLICE OFFICER
And where are you at?

KIP KINKEL
I was waiting for her. [crying] I just want to die!

POLICE OFFICER
I know.

KIP KINKEL
Oh, God!

POLICE OFFICER
So you told me that your mom gets out of the Explorer and starts up the stairs from the garage or basement, is that right?

KIP KINKEL
Yes.

POLICE OFFICER:
Do you say anything to her?

KIP KINKEL
Yes. I told her I loved her.

POLICE OFFICER
And then you shot her.

KIP KINKEL
Yes. (Goddamn) These voices inside my head!

POLICE OFFICER
All right, settle down. It's all right. It's all right. Settle down. Just settle down, okay? It's all right. Just settle down.

KIP KINKEL
[crying] I had no other choice.

POLICE OFFICER
Okay.

KIP KINKEL
I loved my mom! [crying] I just want to die! I didn't know what else to do.

POLICE OFFICER
You didn't know what else to do? Why did you go to school and start shooting people?

KIP KINKEL
I had to! I had no other choice! I couldn't do anything else! [crying] I had to! I had to! I had to! I had to! I had to!

The voices Kip said he was hearing might have been key to HIS defense in a trial. But in September of 1999, he dropped his claim of insanity.

He pled guilty to four counts of first-degree murder, 26 counts of attempted murder. Judge Jack Mattison sentenced him to a term of 111 years in prison, with no chance for parole.

 

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