the killer at thurston high
Chronology: Kip Kinkel's life and the events leading up to the horror of May 20-21, 1998.

who is kinkel?
the sentencing
school shooters
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January 29, 1972Bill Kinkel marries Faith Zuranski
December 22, 1976Kristin Kinkel is born
August 30, 1982Kipland Kinkel is born.
1986 - 1987The Kinkels take a sabbatical year in Spain

The Kinkels went to Spain for the school year. Kristin, although in 5th grade, was placed into a 3rd grade class as it was the only class where the teacher spoke English. Kip went into his first year of school with a teacher who only spoke Spanish. Kristin remembered this as a difficult time for Kip.

1989 - 1990Kip repeats first grade at Walterville Elementary School

After discussions with teachers, the Kinkels decided to hold Kip back in school for a year. According to court testimony, Kip's parents and teachers felt that Kip lacked maturity and had slow emotional and physical development.

1990 - 1991Second Grade: Problems with Language

Kip's second grade teacher testified at his sentencing hearing that Kip was an average second grader with no disciplinary problems. She said that written language caused him great frustration. His parents asked the school to test Kip for a learning disability to see if he was eligible for special education services. According to the school counselor, Kip did not qualify. He scored above the 90th percentile on the intelligence test, and average on the neurological screening test. Her only concerns were that he had a remarkably low score on one motor/hand skill, and that he was having great problems with spelling. She observed him during the 25 minute spelling test, and saw that although he worked unusually diligently for his age, he had difficulty spelling even his own last name, and his level of frustration and anxiety was abnormally high.

1991 - 1992Third Grade: Special Education

During this year, Bill Kinkel retired from teaching and began teaching night classes at Lane Community College.

Kip continued to have problems in school with reading and writing, although he excelled in math. Bill and Faith Kinkel asked Kip's third grade teacher to retest him for special education services. This time he qualified, and a plan for special services was drawn up for him. His third grade teacher testified in court that Kip was given an honor award at the end of the year "for improvement in reading and working hard to overcome his frustration." She also reported that he had no behavior problems in class and received all As and Bs on his report card that year.

1992 - 1993Fourth Grade: Learning Disability Diagnosed

Kip continued to qualify for special education services and was diagnosed with a learning disability. He worked with a special education counselor for the year. However, according to his fourth grade teacher, he was simultaneously placed in a Talented and Gifted program because of his above-average performance in science and math.

1995 - 1996Seventh Grade: Mail Order Bomb Books

Kristin transferred in her sophomore year of college from University of Oregon to Hawaii Pacific where she received a full cheerleading scholarship. After Kristin left home, Kip and some friends used the internet at school to mail order some 'how to build bombs' books (e.g. The Anarchist Cookbook). When they were caught, Faith started to worry more about the friends Kip was hanging out with, and whether they were bad influences on one another.

1996 - 1997Eighth Grade: Shoplifting and the Beginning of a Hidden Gun Collection

Along with some friends, Kip got caught shoplifting CDs from the local "Target" store. Later that year, he bought an old sawed-off shotgun from a friend. He kept it hidden in his room. His parents did not know about it.

January 4, 1997Rock Throwing Incident

Kip went to a snowboarding clinic with a friend in Bend, Oregon. The two boys were arrested for throwing rocks off a highway overpass. One of the rocks struck a car below. The arresting officer said that she caught Kip's friend at the overpass and found Kip back at the motel where they were staying. She said Kip started crying, and immediately asked the officer if anyone was hurt. Kip claimed his friend had actually thrown the rock that hit the car. Kip and his friend were charged for the offense and referred to the Department of Youth Services in Eugene, Oregon. At 11:40 p.m. the Bend police called the Kinkels, who asked that Kip be held there until they could come and get him. They drove two hours that same night to pick Kip up in Bend.

January 20, 1997Counseling: Kip and Faith meet with psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Hicks

In response to the Bend incident and Faith's rising concern about Kip's behavioral problems, Faith brought Kip to see psychologist Jeffrey Hicks. According to Hick's notes, Faith was worried about Kip. She told Dr. Hicks about the shoplifting and rock throwing incidents. Faith said that she was concerned about Kip's temper and his "extreme interest in guns, knives, and explosives," and was afraid that Kip could harm himself or others. Faith asked that Hicks help Kip learn more about appropriate ways to manage his anger and curtail his acting out. Faith was also deeply concerned with Kip's strained relationship with his father. Hicks wrote that "Kip became tearful when discussing his relationship with his father. He reported that Kip thought his mother viewed him as 'a good kid with some bad habits' while his father saw him as 'a bad kid with bad habits.' He felt his father expected the worst from him.

In this meeting Hicks found no evidence of a thought disorder or psychosis. He diagnosed Kip with Major Depressive Disorder and concluded that "Kip had difficulty with learning in school, had difficulty managing anger, some angry acting out and depression."

January 27, 1997Second counseling session: Slight Improvement

Faith and Kip went for their second meeting with Dr. Jeffrey Hicks.

February 26, 1997Kip's assessment by the Department of Youth Services

As a followup to the rock throwing incident in Bend, Kip was taken to Skipworth Juvenile Facility to meet with psychologist Dr. John Crumbley. Dr. Crumbley did an intake interview with Kip and his parents. According to Dr. Crumbley, the Kinkels were impressive parents. They wanted their son to take responsibility for what he did and wanted to make things right with the victim. He said that Kip was not typical of the delinquent kids he usually sees, in that he was appropriately remorseful and quite straightforward about his part in the crime. Dr. Crumbley felt the crime was more of a "boyish" crime and also felt they did not have a real case against Kip, as he hadn't actually thrown the rock. It was decided that Kip would complete 32 hours of community service, write a letter of apology and pay for damages to the car. Dr. Crumbley saw nothing at all out of the ordinary with Kip or his family.

Third Counseling Session: Doing Better

Hicks reported that Kip was doing better. He wrote in his notes that Kip continued to feel depressed several days per week but denied thought of suicide.

April 4, 1997Fourth Counseling Session: Ongoing Interest in Explosives

Hicks noted that Kip still had an ongoing interest in explosives, and that he remained depressed, though less angry.

April 23 - 29Kip gets two suspensions at school

Kip was suspended for two days for kicking another student in the head after the student shoved him. Kip was angry that the other boy did not get punished. Soon after, Kip got a three day suspension for throwing a pencil at another boy.

April 30, 1997Fifth Counseling Session

Faith and Kip discussed the school suspensions with Dr. Hicks. They both felt the school handled the incidents unfairly and that the school was not acknowledging how much progress Kip had made.

June 2, 1997Sixth Counseling Session: Prozac Recommended

According to Hicks's notes, Faith thought that Kip's behavior had been better, but felt he had also become quite cynical. Dr. Hicks discussed the use of anti-depressants and recommended Kip try a course of treatment with Prozac. He wrote: "Kip reports eating is like a chore. He complains that food doesn't taste good. He often feels bored and irritable. He feels tired upon awakening most mornings. He reports there is nothing to which he is looking forward. He denies suicidal ideation, intent or plan of action." Hicks forwarded these notes to the Kinkel family physician with a recommendation that Kip be put on Prozac for depression. The physician concurred, and four days later Kip began taking 20 milligrams of Prozac per day.

June 18, 1997Seventh Counseling Session : Prozac seems to be working

Kip was on Prozac for 12 days. Hicks wrote that Kip was "sleeping better. No temper outbursts, taking the medication as prescribed without side effects." He also noted that Kip appeared less depressed.

June 27, 1997Bill Kinkel purchases a 9mm Glock 19.

Kip went with Bill to buy a 9mm Glock. The understanding between them was that Kip would do the research on which model gun he wanted and would pay for it with his own money. He was not to use the gun without his father present, and the gun would not become Kip's until he turned 21 years old.

Dr. Hicks made no mention of the gun purchase in his psychological notes, although in court testimony Hicks stated that Kip told him that Bill had purchased a handgun for him, after some persistence on his part, and that it was kept out of his reach and to be used only under supervision. When asked in court if he had concerns about buying a gun for Kip when he had just started on Prozac and had an excessive interest in guns and firearms, Hicks responded, "No one consulted me about that decision, and yes, I have concerns about that."

July 9, 1997Eighth Counseling Session : More improvement

Hicks made no mention of the Glock purchase in his session notes with Faith and Kip. He reported, however, that Faith felt that Kip was less irritable and generally in a better mood with no temper outbursts. Hicks also noted that Kip was getting along well with his parents and his father was continuing to make efforts to spend time with him.

July 30, 1997Final Counseling Session

Hicks wrote that Kip continued to do well and did not appear depressed. Hicks, Faith and Kip all agreed that Kip was doing well enough that he could discontinue treatment.

Summer 1997Another gun

Kip bought a .22 pistol from a friend. He kept it hidden from his parents.

1997 - 1998Freshman year

Kip entered Thurston High School. According to friends and parents he did much better in school and things were starting to look up. Bill Kinkel had his friend, Don Stone, the Thurston High football coach, call Kip at home and invite him to come out for the freshman football team.

Fall '97Kip goes off Prozac after three months.
September 30, 1997Bill buys .22 semiautomatic rifle for his son

Bill bought Kip a Ruger .22 semiautomatic rifle under the condition that he would use it only under adult supervision. Again, the gun was bought with Kip's money.

"How to Make a Bomb" speech

Kip gives a talk on "how to make a bomb" in speech class. He shows detailed drawings of explosives attached to a clock. According to kids in the class, a girl in the class gave a speech on how to join Church of Satan, so Kip's topic did not seem extraordinary.

October 1, 1997Pearl, Mississippi school shootings
December 1, 1997West Paducah, Kentucky school shootings
December 14, 1997Bill confides in a stranger

While at San Diego airport waiting for a flight home from with a friend, Bill struck up conversation with Dan Close, an Oregon University professor who specializes in juvenile violence. They talked for about two hours. They began their conversation talking about Kristin. Bill said that she was going to be graduating from college in August. He told Professor Close how much he was looking forward to going to Hawaii with the family. According to Dan Close, Bill then saw a forensic book in Close's bag and started talking about his troubled son. Bill told Close that in the last couple of years Kip had started hanging out with a tougher group of kids, playing with explosives, and that he was becoming difficult to manage, more secretive and was having troubles in school.

Mar 24, 1998Jonesboro school shootings

According to a friend of Kip's, they watched some of the school shootings coverage on TV monitors at school and both said, "Hey, that's pretty cool."

May 1998Toilet papers house

Kip spent the night at Tony McCown's house. They organized a bunch of friends to beat the school "tp" record. They spent weeks hoarding toilet paper in Tony's garage. That night, they snuck out of the house and met ten others at midnight and did a grand toilet papering job of another house, using over 400 rolls of toilet paper. They beat the school record but got caught. The next day, Kip along with the others, had to go clean off the house. Apparently, he was one of the few kids whose parents grounded him for the incident.

May 19, 1998Korey arranges to sell Kip another gun

Korey Ewert stole a .32 caliber pistol from Scott Keeney, the father of one of their friends. He arranged, over the phone, to sell it to Kip the next day. It is unclear whether Kip knew that the gun had been stolen from Keeney.

May 20, 1998 - Day of Kip's Expulsion
Approx 8:00 a.m.Kip buys gun from Korey.

Kip went to school with $110 in cash and bought from Korey a .32 caliber Beretta semiautomatic pistol, loaded with a 9 round clip. He put it in paper sack in his locker.

Scott Keeney called the school to report that the gun was missing and that he thought a friend of his son might have stolen it. He gave the school a list of about a dozen kids he thought might be involved. Kip's name was not on the list.

Detective Al Warthen happened to be at the school and eventually, after talking to a few kids, went to talk to Kip. At about 9:15 a.m., Kip was pulled out of study hall. Detective Warthen told him he is there to investigate the disappearance of a parent's handgun. Kip admitted to having the gun in his locker. Both Kip and Korey were immediately arrested. They were promptly escorted off the school premises in police handcuffs and were suspended from school, pending expulsion.

Approx 11:30 a.m.Kip is brought to the police station.

Kip was brought to police station. He was fingerprinted, photographed, and charged with possession of a firearm in a public building and the felony charge of receiving a stolen weapon. Detective Al Warthen interviewed him. According to Warthen Kip was very upset and worried about what his parents were going to think. He was scared about what was going to happen to him. Soon after, Bill picked up Kip from the police station and brought him home.

Approx 2:00 p.m.Richard Bushnell calls Bill

Bill Kinkel and Richard Bushnell talked through various options regarding what to do about Kip. Bushnell said both Bill and Kip were deeply concerned with how Faith would handle the news.

3:00 p.m.Scott Keeney calls Bill

Scott Keeney called Bill when he heard that Kip had gotten arrested, and said Bill was very upset. Bill said, "I don't know what to do at this point." Keeney said Bill was distraught and thought Kip was completely out of control.

Kip Kills Bill

Kip's father was sitting at the kitchen counter drinking coffee. According to Kip's confession, he grabbed the .22 rifle from his room, got ammunition from his parents room, went downstairs and fired one shot to the back of his father's head. Kip then dragged his father's body into the bathroom and covered it with a sheet.

Approx 3:30 p.m.Kevin Rowan calls

Rowan is the English teacher from Thurston High. Kip answered the phone. He told Mr. Rowan that he had made a mistake. He also told Mr. Rowan that his father was not there right now.

Approx 4:00 p.m.Friend calls Kip

Kip's friend asked where Kip's dad was, and Kip said his father went to the store. Kip's friend said his call waiting was going off and they got off the phone pretty quickly.

Approx 4:30 p.m.Bill Kinkel's Spanish students call

Someone from Lane Community College called to see where Bill was because he was missing class. Kip answered the phone saying his father wouldn't make it to class because of "family problems."

Approx 4:30 p.m.Tony McCown and Nick Hiaason conference call

Kip talked on the phone in a conference call with his friends Tony McCown and Nick Hiaason. Kip told them he didn't know the gun was Keeney's. He also told them that his dad was out at a bar. He told them that he was worried about what his parents' friends would think of what he did, and that his parents would be so embarrassed when people found out. He kept saying, "It's over...Everything's's done. ... Nothing matters now." Kip told Tony and Nick that his stomach was hurting and that he felt like he was going to throw up. He told them that he just wanted the gun, that he knew he shouldn't have done it and that he wasn't planning on doing anything with it. Kip went back and forth between being upset and angry. According to Tony, Kip kept asking, "Where's my mom...when is she going to be home?"

Approx 6:30 p.mFaith Kinkel arrives home. Kip kills her

Kip met his mom in the garage. According to his audiotaped police confession, he told her he loved her, and then shot her twice in the back of the head, three times in the face and one time through the heart. He dragged her body across the garage floor and covered her with a sheet.

May 21, 1998 - Day of School Shooting at Thurston High
7:30 a.m.Kip leaves house

Kip dressed in long trench coat. He filled his backpack with ammunition and carried 3 guns: a .22 caliber semiautomatic Ruger rifle, his father's 9mm Glock pistol and a .22 caliber Ruger semiautomatic pistol. He taped a hunting knife to his leg and drove his mother's Ford Explorer to school. He parked one block from the high school and walked down a dirt path, taking a shortcut past the tennis courts and into the back parking lot.

7:55 a.m.Kip enters school

School security camera recorded his entrance. He walked down the hallway towards the cafeteria. On the way he shot Ben Walker and Ryan Atteberry, and then fired off what remained of the 50 round clip from a .22 caliber semiautomatic and one round from a 9mm Glock handgun into the cafeteria. By the time Kip was wrestled to ground by five classmates, two students were dead and 25 others were injured.

7:56 a.mSpringfield Police arrive at the school

Officer Dan Bishop was the first officer on the scene at Thurston.

8:04 a.mKip Kinkel placed in custody by Dan Bishop.

A bunch of kids were on top of Kip on the floor pinning him down. Kinkel was identified as the shooter. Bishop got the other kids off Kip. A student that had been on top of Kip got up and punched Kip in the face. Kip made statements to the effect: "I just want to die." Bishop searched Kip and handcuffed him. Kip was advised of his Miranda rights.

Officer Bishop transferred custody of Kip to Detective Jones, the first detective to arrive on the scene. Detective Jones walked Kip to car and secured him there. Kip made no statements to Detective Jones. Soon after, Detective Al Warthen arrived on the scene. He was directed by Jones to take custody of Kip and "get him out of there." Warthen recognized Kip as the kid he had arrested the day before and took custody of him.

8:50 a.mKip assaults Warthen with knife at the at Springfield Police Department

Warthen locked Kip in an interview room and left the room for a moment to set up photo equipment. In the time that he was gone, Kip managed, with cuffed hands, to pull out the hunting knife that had been taped to his leg. On the detective's return, Kip rushed at Warthen with the knife, yelling, "Kill me, shoot me." Warthen backed up while Kip continued to charge him with the knife. Warthen got the door to close between Kip and himself; Kip kept pushing against door. Kip went back to the chair and started using the knife near his wrists. Warthen quickly came back in with another detective and sprayed Kip with pepper spray, while the other detective knocked away the knife.

9:08 a.m.Kip tells police he killed his parents

Warthen read Kip his Miranda rights again. Kip indicated that he understood those rights. Warthen then asked Kip, "How's your dad?" Kip responded that he killed both of his parents.

Warthen photographed Kip to document physical condition with clothes on, and then allowed him to shower and clean up. Kip took off his clothes piece by piece--on his chest he had masking tape in an X form with one .22 caliber bullet and one .9mm bullet underneath. Warthen asked him why, and Kip said he put them there in case he ran out of ammunition; he wanted to have one of each in which to reload and kill himself.

9:30 a.m.Bodies of Bill and Faith Kinkel are found

Three Lane County sheriffs, Detective Spence Slater, Detective Pam McComas and Deputy Pat O'Neill, arrived at Kinkel house. They found opera music from the soundtrack to the movie "Romeo and Juliet" playing loudly on the stereo and set to continuous play. They could see through glass doors that there were hundreds of rounds of .22 caliber ammunition strewn all over the living room floor.

Police searched Kip's room and found what they thought could be a live bomb constructed from soda cans and one in a fire extinguisher. They evacuated nearby houses. Later, Sergeant Jim Fields detonated several explosive devices at the Kinkel home and found a store of inactive bombs in the crawl space under the porch.

9:51 a.m.Warthen begins a tape recorded interview with Kinkel.

Listen to this audiotaped confession.

May 22, 1998Kip's arraignment

Kip was charged with four counts of aggravated murder.

June 16, 1998Kip Kinkel indicted

He was indicted on 58 felony charges including four counts of aggravated murder.

September 24, 1999Plea Agreement

Kip pled guilty to four counts of murder and 26 counts of attempted murder.

November 2, 1999Sentencing Hearing

After a six-day hearing that included the testimony of psychiatrists and psychologists who interviewed Kip, the victims' statements, his sister's statement, Lane County Circuit Judge Jack Mattison sentenced Kip to 111 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.

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