The expected release of a 2,300-page report on the shootings last fall at Marysville-Pilchuck High School was delayed by a restraining order filed on behalf of a former girlfriend of Jaylen Fryberg, who doesn't want her text messages released.
The attorney representing the families of five students shot by a classmate at Marysville-Pilchuck High School last fall said it “defies common sense” that nobody knew Jaylen Fryberg was troubled in the days leading up to the tragedy.
“This doesn’t happen in isolation,” Ann Deutscher said Monday during a news conference before the expected release of a law-enforcement report on the October shooting that left five students dead, including Fryberg.
She acknowledged that the investigation could determine there was no way anyone could have prevented Fryberg from shooting five friends. But Deutscher said there is anecdotal evidence that indicates some adults, and perhaps the school, knew or should have known that the 15-year-old was troubled.
She said the Marysville School District has failed to respond to requests for its policies on bullying and discipline and that failure has raised alarms among the families of the victims. The policies ought to be available to anyone who wants to see them, she said.
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“People and organizations who are not concerned about liability would be forthcoming,” she said.
No claims or lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the families, who are still awaiting information before deciding how to proceed, she said. None of the victims’ relatives attended the news conference.
The Marysville School District released a statement Monday confirming it had received an “extensive” public-records request from Deutscher. The statement added, “we have provided the documents readily accessible and have given her a time frame required to prepare records in response. We have met all legal requirements under the state Public Records Act.”
The statement goes on to say that Deutscher has declined requests by the district’s attorneys to clarify her request.
Deutscher’s news conference Monday at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent comes just as Snohomish County law-enforcement officials were expected to release the results of a lengthy investigation into the shooting. Deutscher said victims’ relatives have not yet seen the 2,300-page report.
However, on Monday afternoon, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said a temporary restraining order had barred them from releasing the entire report. The restraining order seeks to block the release of “certain records related to the” investigation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton wrote in a news release.
Ireton, in the news release, said public-records staff will release “all records not subject to the restraining order” at noon Tuesday. A hearing on Thursday will determine whether the remaining records will be released, Ireton said.
Seattle attorney Tom Ahearne said he filed the restraining order on behalf of a 15-year-old girl who is identified in the report.
The girl is the ex-girlfriend of Fryberg.
“She is severely traumatized and distressed and in a very fragile condition. Her friends were killed,” Ahearne said.
The girl, whom Ahearne identified only as “Jane Doe,” was promised when she turned over her text messages to investigators that the contents would not be publicly released. He said the release of the messages would violate the girl’s right to privacy.
“She’s a 15-year-old kid. Her texts are private and are exempt from the public- records act,” Ahearne said.
Ahearne said that the girl was not only emotionally devastated by the shootings, but her life was threatened. She dropped out of school and would like to return to classes this fall.
“She just wants to get her life back,” Ahearne said.
Fryberg, 15, invited five friends to sit with him at lunch in the school cafeteria on Oct. 24, then fatally shot four and wounded one before turning the gun on himself.
Killed were Gia Soriano, Zoe Galasso and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, all 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15. All were shot in the head.
Nate Hatch, 15, was shot in the jaw and spent about two weeks in a Seattle hospital. Andrew Fryberg and Hatch are Jaylen Fryberg’s cousins.
Moments before the shooting, Jaylen Fryberg texted more than a dozen relatives, describing what he wanted to wear at his funeral and who should get his personal possessions, a detective’s search-warrant affidavit said.
Jaylen Fryberg asked relatives to apologize to the families of his friends “who get caught up in the (expletive) tomorrow” — referring to the day after the shooting. He also had sent texts in the previous days to a female friend talking about his death and funeral.
Fryberg came from a prominent Tulalip tribal family and was considered by some a future leader. Weeks before the shooting, he was named a homecoming prince at Marysville-Pilchuck.
Deutscher said the victims’ families will also be looking at how Fryberg’s father, Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr., obtained the gun used in the attack and whether there were opportunities to intervene.
“We’re trying to see if this could have been prevented, not just for these kids but also for any kid that walks into their school every day,” she said.
The elder Fryberg has been charged in U.S. District Court with illegally possessing the gun that his son used in the shooting.
Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. was the subject of a restraining order, which meant he was not allowed to have firearms. Federal prosecutors say he failed to disclose his criminal history and information about the restraining order when he obtained the gun.
Fryberg was charged March 30 with one count of illegally possessing the gun. In July, federal prosecutors filed a new indictment charging Fryberg on six counts, including one count for the gun used in the shooting. Four counts are for guns purchased at Cabela’s, and the sixth count lists five rifles found during a search of his home.