MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A 13-year-old boy who opened fire on his classmates, wounding five of them, was deeply influenced by the Columbine High School shooting, according to the boy's case file and testimony at a court hearing.
Seth Trickey also took numerous prescription medications, had been receiving psychological counseling and was obsessed by military tactics, according to the records obtained by the Tulsa World.
Authorities said at least 15 shots were fired during the Dec. 6 attack on the grounds of Fort Gibson Middle School, hitting four students directly. A fifth student was hit by a ricochet and another boy found a bullet embedded in a book inside his backpack.
Trickey didn't fit the anti-social mold of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 13 people and then themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. But he was strongly influenced by media accounts of their April 20, 1999, rampage, said Dr. Shreekumar Vinekar, a psychiatrist who testified in the boy's defense at a March 29 hearing.
"He started wondering what he would do if he were placed in the role of the perpetrators that were previously depicted on the TV and media," Vinekar said.
Trickey was taking the prescription drug Inderal for severe migraine headaches and had been referred to a psychologist for stress management and biofeedback training, the World reported.
Inderal can cause depression, Vinekar said, although that was never diagnosed in Trickey.
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And three weeks before the shooting, Trickey was given a large injection of the prescription poison ivy drug Kenalog, said Dr. William Banner, a toxicologist and medical director of the Oklahoma Poison Center.
Kenalog is a steroid alleged to have psychotic effects on some users, according to the three medical experts who testified at the hearing.
"Even in routine doses, these drugs can produce a psychotic break," Banner said.
Several psychologists who interviewed Trickey said that what pushed him to act was his obsession with military tactics and his identification with World War II Gen. George Patton.
Vinekar said the shooting may have been his way of testing himself under fire.
"His fantasy was to see whether he would … have the disposition of a general, where he would not become anxious in the field, where there is killing going on, and whether he could keep his anxiety under control," Vinekar said.
One of Trickey's attorneys, Jim Wilcoxen, would not comment on the hearing transcript, but said the boy's family feels compelled to lend credence to theories about Seth's military obsessions and possible drug effects as reasons for the shooting.
"That's an area we want the experts to look at and get to the bottom of," Wilcoxen said.
Following the March 29 hearing, Muskogee County Associate District Judge Tom Alford has found the boy guilty of six counts of shooting with intent to kill and one count of having a weapon on school property, and recommended Trickey receive clinical counseling at a state-run facility for juvenile offenders.
That means Trickey could be back in school in less than two years.