Amidst confusion about school shooting, some call for compassion for killer's family
TROUTDALE, Ore. - Family and friends of the teen police said shot and killed one of his classmates at Reynolds High School last week laid him to rest on Monday. But Jared Padgett's family is conflicted, as are many people in the community, about why their son took a rifle from their home and killed Emilio Hoffman in a school locker room before killing himself. Some people are calling for compassion toward the Padgett family.
"They appreciate all the kindness that's been shown, especially the grace and mercy that the Hoffman family has shown in their comments, that helps a lot during this time. It's huge for them," said Deon Strommer, a spokesman for the Padgett Family.
Emilio Hoffman,14, was gunned down by his freshman classmate, Jared Padgett, 15, last Tuesday. No one is condoning what Padgett did, and nothing can change what happened. However, some are making online donations to a funeral fund for Padgett's family, sending a message is that there are two families suffering because of the tragedy.
The fund was established on gofundme.com by Amy Evans, a 2009 graduate of Reynolds High School. She said Padgett's older brother is a friend who was in her class.
"It's important to show compassion in the midst of anger and sadness. It's the only way we can positively react to this just to show love to the Padgetts," said Evans, who now lives in Canada.
So far the fund has a goal of $6,000 that's almost been met. Evans posted on the site she deletes all messages of hate.
"Choose compassion over hatred and know how grateful I am to you all," Evans wrote.
Nearly 200 people have donated every amount from $10 to $100 dollars to the fund, which will help cover Padgett's funeral expenses. All of those people also want their generosity to send a message of healing to the Reynolds community.
Some people have written comments on the site about why they donated.
"I knew Jared and all I ever saw was a good, decent, compassionate, young man who was part of an equally loving family. Thank you for your compassion towards the Padgett family. May Heavenly Father bless everyone," wrote Maryanne Diehl.
Jerry Nance wrote, "It warms my heart to see people reach out this way. I didn't know the families personally, but am amazed how this has touched me. I hope to one day shake the hand of Jared's father, Michael, and lend my support. Both families have been in my daily prayers."
And Judy Day commented, "The pain, heartache and tears are equal between both families. Please know, Jared's family, you have many supporters! As a community, we will get through this! Thinking of you all!"
Strommer told KATU News reporter Hillary Lake in an email he was going to ask the Padgett family about the fund.
A spokeswoman for the Reynolds School District called Amy Evans "inspirational" for setting up the fund and said the Padgett family does know about it.