Thursday, April 18, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Moses Lake Boy Tells Of Killing Three At School


EPHRATA, Grant County - A 15-year-old boy calmly described how he fatally shot a classmate he disliked, then shot three other people at his school.

"I guess reflex took over," Barry Loukaitis told a Moses Lake police detective during an interview taped several hours after the Feb. 2 shootings.

Prosecutors played the tape yesterday during a Grant County Superior Court hearing on whether Loukaitis should be tried as an adult.

Killed at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake were Loukaitis' algebra teacher, Leona Caires, and two 14-year-old classmates, Manuel Vela and Arnold Fritz. Classmate Natalie Hintz, 13, was seriously injured.

In a matter-of-fact tone, Loukaitis said in the interview that he shot Vela and then began firing at others. About his intended targets, he said, "The only positive, deliberate one was Manuel."

Earlier, a police detective testified that students told him Vela had picked on Loukaitis. In turn, Loukaitis had talked about killing Vela, the detective said. But in the interview, Loukaitis said although he planned to kill Vela, he hadn't been picked on: "It's not like he was a bully or anything," he said.

Loukaitis is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault. Defense attorneys were to present their case today.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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