william kinkel

Kip Kinkel about his parents
Kip Kinkel about his parents

The interrogation of Kip Kinkel on May 21, 1998. I compiled the parts where he talks about his motive to murder his parents (William Kinkel and Faith Zuranski), his relationship to them and what he was feeling when he killed them. For a better understanding of this, he killed his father first, not in a fight, after the fight, when his father was in the kitchen drinking something. When his mother came home, he killed her too. The next day, he shot up his high school.

- Detective: Okay….So was your dad…Did he hit you or anything like that?
Kip Kinkel: No.
Detective: Okay…Was he yelling or out of control or?
Kip Kinkel: I couldn’t, I couldn’t, I had no other choice. God.

- Kip Kinkel: I loved my dad that’s why I had to
Detective: You love him, so that’s why you had to kill him?
Kip Kinkel: Yes.

- Kip Kinkel: Oh my God, my parents were good people, I’m just so fucked up in the head, I don’t know why.

- Detective: Do you say anything to her? 
Kip Kinkel: Yes, I told her I loved her.
Detective: And then you shot her. 
Kip Kinkel: Yes. God damn it, these voices inside my head.

- Kip Kinkel: She was still alive and I said that I loved her and I shot her…I shot her again, so she wouldn’t know that I killed her. I loved my mom.

- Detective: Now you shot your mom to save her the embarrassment and that sort of stuff, right?
Kip Kinkel: Yes.
Detective: Okay. Was that the right thing or the wrong thing to do?
Kip Kinkel: I couldn’t do anything else.

- Kip Kinkel: My dad kept saying how my mom…how embarrassed she was going to be and how horrible I was and I couldn’t let my mom feel like that. I couldn’t do anything else. There’s no other way.

Dr. William Sack on Kip Kinkel
In his psychological evaluation of 15 year old mass shooter Kip Kinkel, Dr. William Sack cited paranoid schizophrenia as a psychological disorder that Kinkel suffered from, as well as a contributive factor to his crimes. He noted that Kinkel also experienced prominent symptoms of depression that often worsened his schizophrenic psychosis as they arose.
Kinkel had evidently been hearing voices consistently since he was twelve years old. He told Dr. Sack that there were 3 different male voices that he heard regularly. One that would insult and berate him, another that encouraged him to kill, and a third that would repeat or respond to the other two voices. Along with his hallucinations, Kip Kinkel also developed delusions that were paranoid in nature. Dr. Sack recorded a total of five main delusions that he observed in Kinkel, all of which made him paranoid. The most noteable delusion was his belief that there was a chip implanted in his brain. This delusion derived from an attempted rationalization of the voices that he’d been hearing since age 12.
Dr. Sack concluded that Kip Kinkel’s schizophrenic tendencies directly influenced his crimes. He felt that the buildup of stress and the development of the psychosis had overwhelmed Kinkel’s self control.
After being convicted of the murder of his parents and those killed in the mass shooting, along with attempted murder of those injured, Kinkel was sentenced to 111 years without parole. He was put on atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants including Olanzapine. Dr. Sack reported a positive response to the medication on his visit ten days into treatment, as Kinkel told him the voices became much less aggressive and persistent.


Kip Kinkel’s victims

On the morning May 21st, 1998, 15 year old Kip Kinkel drove his parents car to his school, Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon, and went on a shooting rampage. He killed two students and wounded 25 before he was stopped by a group of classmates. The day before he had killed his parents at home. He’s currently serving a life sentence in jail. 

William Kinkel (59). Kip’s father was a Spanish teacher, and among other schools, he worked at Thurston HIgh. He was born in Idaho and met his wife Faith during a business trip in Cleveland during the 60s. He was loved and respected by the community, and in the neighborhood where he eventually died he was well known for going on motorcycle rides. A former student of his revealed that his motto was: “ One must improvise like a lightning bug”. He and his family enjoyed outdoor activities like hikes and ski trips and they lived in Spain for a year when Kip was 6. He used to take his son shooting, but according to his mother, whom he visited every Thursday morning, he eventually became concerned about Kip’s interest in guns. Bill was the first victim of his son, shot once in the back of the head at around 3 pm of May 20, while he was in the kitchen.

Faith Kinkel (57). Kip’s mother was a Spanish and French teacher, born Faith Zuranski. She was from Ohio but moved to Oregon after she met William. Friends say she was a dedicated mother and made sure to be there for all of Kip’s school activities. She was very loved at the school where she worked, Springfield High School. During her funeral, the school sent a letter in which they remembered her as loving, generous and committed to her students and profession. She had been chosen Outstanding Teacher of the Year in her district the day before she died. Kip shot her in the garage of their house at around 6:30 pm on May 20th, after telling her he loved her. She died after two gunshots to the back of the head, three to her face and one to the heart.

Benjamin Walker (16). In his funeral, televised and attended by around 500 people, the pastor said “Ben left us early because he was in a hurry to get on to his next destination,” referring to the teenager’s restlesness and known desire to move on to the next thing. He was very good at playing the guitar and described as mischievous. His parents were divorced and he lived with his dad for a few years, until he met a girl he fell in love with during a visit to his mother’s and ended up transferring to Thurston. According to a friend of Kip’s, the shooter didn’t know him very well but used to tease him for kissing his girlfriend in the hall.“ Ben was the first person Kip shot when he entered the school, in the hallway, and died the next day at the hospital from the wound to his head.

Mikael Nickolauson (17). His friends described him as goofy and quirky, who had an interest in electronics since he was little and wanted to work in computer programming after college. He was a private in the Oregon Army National Guard and had a steady girlfriend, Michelle Calhoun, whom he wanted to marry after graduation. He enjoyed teaching his classmates, especially in computer class, and helped them study. He also had a wild imagination that contrasted his more sensible side, liked to collect Star Trek cards and role-playing. Mikael was the first student to die during the Thurston High School Shooting. Witnesses say he didn’t know Kip and was first shot in the leg, and while he was down, Kip Kinkel approached him, put the rifle against the back of his head and killed him almost immediately.

Thurston High School shooting

The Thurston High School shooting took place on May 21, 1998. Expelled student Kip Kinkel first murdered his parents before engaging in a school shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon that left two students dead and 25 others wounded. He is serving a 111-year sentence without the possibility of parole. 

Events leading to shooting: 

Expulsion: On May 20, 1998, Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School for being possession of a loaded, stolen handgun. A friend of Kinkel’s had stolen a pistol from the father of one of his friends and arranged to sell the weapon to Kinkel the night before. Kinkel paid $110 for the Beretta Model 90 .32-caliber pistol loaded with a 9-round magazine, which he then placed in a paper bag and left in his locker. When the father discovered he was missing a handgun, he reported it to the police and supplied the names of students he believed might have stolen the firearm. Kinkel’s name was not on the list. The school became aware of his possible involvement and questioned him. When he was checked for weapons, he reportedly stated: “Look, I’m gonna be square with you guys; the gun’s in my locker.” Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School, and he and his friend were arrested. Kinkel was released from police custody and driven home by his father. 

Murder of parents: At home that afternoon, Kinkel was told by his father that he would be sent to military school if he did not change his behavior. According to Kinkel’s taped confession, at about 3:00 pm, his father was seated at the kitchen counter drinking coffee. Kinkel retrieved his .22 rifle from his bedroom and ammunition from his parents’ bedroom. He then went to the kitchen and shot his father once in the back of the head, then dragged his body into the bathroom and covered it with a sheet. Kinkel further stated that his mother arrived home at about 6:30 pm, and that he met her in the garage, told her he loved her, then shot her twice in the back of the head, three times in the face, and once in the heart. He then dragged her body across the floor and covered it with a sheet. 

Throughout that morning Kinkel repeatedly played a recording of “Liebestod”, the final dramatic aria from Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde, on the family’s sound system. The recording was featured in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, and included on the compact disc (CD) of the soundtrack from the film. When police arrived at the house they found “opera music” from the soundtrack playing loudly with the CD player set to continuous play. In a note Kinkel left on a coffee table in the living room, he described his motive for killing his parents thus: “I just got two felonies on my record. My parents can’t take that! It would destroy them. The embarrassment would be too much for them. They couldn’t live with themselves.” But as the note continues, he attempts to describe his mental state: “My head just doesn’t work right. God damn these VOICES inside my head. …. I have to kill people. I don’t know why. … I have no other choice.”

Shooting: On May 21, Kinkel drove his mother’s Ford Explorer to the high school. He wore a trench coat to hide the five weapons he carried: two hunting knives, a 9mm Glock 19 pistol, a Ruger .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle, and a .22-caliber Ruger MK II pistol. He was carrying 1,127 rounds of ammunition. 

He parked on North 61st Street, two blocks from the school, then jogged to the campus, entered the patio area and fired two shots, one fatally wounding Ben Walker and the other wounding Ryan Atteberry. Kinkel fired a total of 50 rounds, hitting with 37 of those, and killing two. 

When Kinkel’s rifle ran out of ammunition and he began to reload, wounded student Jacob Ryker tackled him, assisted by several other students. Kinkel drew the Glock and fired one shot before he was disarmed, injuring Ryker again as well as another student. The students restrained Kinkel until the police arrived and arrested him. A total of seven students were involved in subduing and disarming Kinkel. 

Nickolauson died at the scene; Walker died after being transported to the hospital and kept on life support until his parents arrived. The other students, including Ryker, were also taken to the hospital with a variety of wounds. Ryker had a perforated lung, but he made a full recovery. Ryker received the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal with Crossed Palms for his heroism on the day of the attack. 

Perpetrator: Kip Kinkel was born in Springfield, Oregon, the second child of William Kinkel and Faith Zuranski. He has an older sister Kristin. His parents were both Spanish teachers. Faith Kinkel taught Spanish at Springfield High School, and William Kinkel taught at Thurston High School and Lane Community College. According to all accounts, Kinkel’s parents were loving and supportive. His sister was a gifted student. The Kinkel family spent a sabbatical year in Spain when Kip was six, where he attended a Spanish-speaking kindergarten. He reportedly attended in an “unnormal” way. His family said that he struggled with the curriculum. When Kinkel returned to Oregon, he attended Walterville Elementary School in Springfield. His teachers considered him immature and lacking physical and emotion development. Based on the recommendation of his teachers, Kinkel’s parents had him repeat the first grade. In the repeat, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which became worse, and he was placed in extensive special education classes by the beginning of second grade. 

Kinkel had an interest in firearms and explosives from an early age. His father initially discouraged this, but later enrolled him at gun safety courses, buying him a .22 caliber long rifle and eventually a 9mm Glock handgun when Kip was 15.

His classmates described Kinkel as strange and morbid. Others characterized him as psychotic or schizoid, and as someone who enjoyed listening to both shock rock and funk metal, such as Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against The Machine. He constantly talked about committing acts of violence. He told friends that he wanted to join the Army after graduation to find out what it was like to kill someone. When asked about a family trip to Disneyland, he commented that he wanted to “punch Mickey Mouse in the nose”. He once gave a “how to” speech in bomb-making to his speech class and sett off “stink bombs” in the lockers of classmates. Kinkel’s parents enrolled him in anger management and had him evaluated by psychologists. Shortly before being murdered, Kinkel’s father confided to a friend that he was “terrified” and had run out of options to help his son. 

Kinkel exhibited signs of paranoid schizophrenia, the full extent of which became apparent only after his trial. The youth had gone to great lengths to hide any symptoms due to a fear of being labelled abnormal or mentally retarded. His doctors later said that Kinkel had told them of hearing voices in his head from the age of 12; he eventually suffered from hallucinations and paranoid delusions - including the belief that the government had implanted a computer chip in his brain. 

Trial and imprisonment: At the police station, Kinkel lunged at officer Al Warthen with his knife, screaming, “Shoot me, kill me!” The officer repelled Kinkel with pepper spray. Kinkel later said that he wanted to trick the officer into shooting him, and that he had wanted to commit suicide after killing his parents but could not bring himself to do so. 

At his sentencing, the defense presented experts on mental health to show that the assailant was mentally ill. Jeffrey Hicks, the only psychologist who had treated Kinkel before the shootings, said that he was in satisfactory mental health. He had seen Kinkel for nine sessions, after which the boy’s parents terminated the therapy. 

On September 24, 1999, three days before jury selection was set to begin, Kinkel pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder, forgoing the possibility of being acquitted by reason of insanity. In November 1999, Kinkel was sentenced to 111 years in prison without the possibility of parole. At sentencing, Kinkel apologized to the court for the murder of his parents and the shooting spree. 

Appeals: In June 2007, Kinkel sought a new trial. He said that his previous attorneys should have taken the case to trial and used the insanity defense. Two psychiatrists testified that Kinkel exhibited signs of paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the shooting. In August 2007, a Marion County judge denied him a new trial. Kinkel appealed, arguing among other things that he had ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial proceedings. On January 12, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judgement, denying his motion for a new trial. Kinkel is appealing his sentence in both federal and state courts. In federal court he claims his guilty plea should not have been accepted without a prior mental health evaluation. In state court Kinkel is challenging the validity of the virtual life sentence he was given, citing Miller v Alabama. 

Kinkel is incarcerated at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, Oregon. He received his GED while serving a portion of his life sentence at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. On June 11, 2007, Kinkel, nearing his 25th birthday (maximum age to be held as a juvenile in Oregon), was transferred from Oregon Youth Authority, MacLaren Correctional Facility, to the Oregon State Correctional Institution, Oregon Department of Corrections. 

Above is Kip Kinkel being arrested by officers.

Classification: Homicide

Characteristics: Parricide - Juvenile (15) - School shooting

Number of victims: 4

Date of murders: May 21, 1998

Date of arrest: Same day

Date of birth: August 30, 1982

Victims profile: William, 59, and Faith Kinkel, 57 (his parents) / Mikael Nicholauson, 17, and Ben Walker, 16 (high school students)

Method of murder: Shooting (.22-caliber semiautomatic rifle)

Location: Springfield, Oregon, USA

Status: Sentenced to 111 years in prison without the possibility of parole on November 10, 1999