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Survivors of Freeman shooting ask judge to impose maximum sentence

caleb sharpe 1-27 22.jpg
Rebecca White
Caleb Sharpe is seated in court during his sentence hearing in January of 2022, four years after he shot several Freeman High School students.

More than four years ago Freeman High School student Caleb Sharp shot four of his classmates, killing one of them. As he faces sentencing, survivors of the shooting shared how that day affected them.

During his sentencing hearing at the Spokane County Courthouse, Caleb Sharpe sat just feet away from survivors of the shooting, and advocates who appeared on several victims’ behalf. Some students spoke directly to Sharpe; others, to the judge.

Students said fireworks, slamming doors and crowds now induce panic attacks. Most struggle with post-traumatic stress, depression and recurring nightmares.

One student, who was a senior at the time, recalled hiding in a classroom, trying to contact his little sister and not being able to reach her. The student, speaking through a victim advocate, echoed what many students said throughout the hearing:

“We will never be the same.”

Another student, who testified in person spoke to Sharpe directly, saying:

“You may think you have gotten what you wanted, but every single person you hurt is stronger than you will ever be.”

Other students testified over the video sharing service Zoom, saying they struggled to return to return to high school, graduate and go to college.

Many families said the delays in Sharpe’s case had left them in limbo, unable to find closure. They called on the judge, Michael Price, to sentence Sharpe to the maximum penalty.

Sharpe faces murder and attempted murder charges.

Recording was not allowed in the courtroom Thursday and Spokane Public Radio is not naming the survivors, who were minors at the time of the shooting.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.