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Washington school shooter texted "I'm sorry" to families before killings

Jaylen Fryberg in an image from social media

CBS

Last Updated Sep 2, 2015 12:45 AM EDT

SEATTLE -- Minutes before a Washington state high school freshman fatally shot four friends and then himself, he sent a group text message to his family outlining his funeral wishes and apologizing to the parents of the teenagers he was about to kill.

"I love you family. I really do. More than anything," Jaylen Fryberg said two minutes before opening fire in the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School. "I needed to do this tho... I wasn't happy. And I need my crew with me too. I'm sorry. I love you."

Among the more than 2,200 pages of investigative documents released Tuesday by Snohomish County authorities were emotional interviews with the 15-year-old's classmates, many of whom were just feet away when Fryberg began shooting Oct. 24 during the school's first lunch period.

The report said Fryberg's motive remains unclear, but classmates told police his girlfriend had broken up with him the day before and he had recently been in a fight with a football player over alleged "racial" comments.

Fryberg's father, Raymond Fryberg, has been charged in federal court with illegally possessing the gun used by his son. His trial is set for Sept. 21.

Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith issued a statement Tuesday saying, "Nothing in this report changes the facts of that day. This was a homicide. It was premeditated and calculated. The shooter was intent on killing those at the table and then himself. And were it not for the actions of one teacher, there would have been additional deaths.

"Our community experienced a tragedy on Oct. 24. To those who are reading this report for the first time, please remember that this is not just a news story. This is the reality that our students, our families and our community are living every day. It is still emotional and we are still healing, and for that reason we ask for your respect and your discretion as we move forward."

Jaylen Fryberg's uncle, Anthony Hatch, told police he believed the boy was "a happy teenager," and said he and other family members had no idea what he was planning to do.

On Fryberg's cellphone, investigators found a series of messages he sent to several people before the shooting began.

At 10:25 a.m., he sent via Facebook Messenger a photo of a pistol between his legs and asking that an unidentified person call him "before he did 'this thing.'"

At 10:27 a.m., he spoke with a friend for two minutes and then sent a message to his father saying "read the paper on my bed. Dad I love you." Four seconds after that he sent a group text with his funeral plans.

"I want to be fully dressed in Camo in my casket," he said. "I don't want my family to cancel there (sic) trip in December. Put my hat with the S on it on me in my casket. Make sure all of my trust money or whatever goes to my brother.

"Also apologize to Andrews fam and xx fam for me taking them with me. But I needed to ride or dies with me on the other side."

Two minutes after that, the first 911 call came in reporting a mass shooting at the school about 30 miles north of Seattle.

One girl told police Fryberg encouraged his friends to skip class and join him in the cafeteria.

They all sat at a round table near the front door. One classmate told police "Jaylen had a blank stare on his face and stood up and leaned against the wall. He began shooting left to right."

Another student said during the shooting "Jaylen had a really angry face."

A substitute teacher told investigators she knew about a shooting threat two days before the fatal incident. When the office staff didn't recall her reporting it, the substitute later recanted her statement about telling them, according to the documents.

CBS News affiliate KIRO reported Fryberg and the cousin he killed, Andrew Fryberg, had an argument the previous day, documents reveal.

Zoe Galasso, 14, died at the scene. Gia Soriano and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, both 14, and his cousin Andrew, 15, later died at area hospitals. A 14-year-old survived a gunshot wound to his face. Two other 14-year-old females who were seated at the table were not injured.

Many of the police interviews focused on Fryberg's life before the shooting.

A 15-year-old student told a federal agent that the week before the shooting, she heard a student say Fryberg had punched him. The football coach told the student that Fryberg would be suspended from the football team, the notes said.

One student reported he spoke with Fryberg after the fight and the teen said the other player had made a racist comment.

Another student said Fryberg's girlfriend had broken up with him the day before "and thought that may have pushed Fryberg over the edge," the report said.