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Crime/Public Safety

Wounded girls have deep roots in Freeman community

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 13, 2017, 10:48 p.m.

Parents hugged children during a service to remember the victims of the Freeman High School shooting Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at Fairfield Community Church. Most of the kids in attendance attend Liberty High School or a Central Valley school. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Parents hugged children during a service to remember the victims of the Freeman High School shooting Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at Fairfield Community Church. Most of the kids in attendance attend Liberty High School or a Central Valley school. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The three teenage girls shot and wounded Wednesday at Freeman High School have deep roots in the community.

At a vigil, their classmates said they are sweet, funny and kind.

Brian Parisotto, Freeman High School assistant principal and athletic director, said all three are “great kids.”

Freshmen Emma Nees, Jordyn Goldsmith and Gracie Jensen all were shot and injured Wednesday. Classmate Caleb Sharpe is the suspect.

The three are active in athletics.

Jerry King, a retired Freeman teacher and football coach, said the Goldsmith and Jensen families have been in the district for generations.

King coached Goldsmith’s father and two uncles. Her parents were high school sweethearts at Freeman and her grandfather has volunteered with the football team for 40 years, King said.

Jensen’s parents also were high school sweethearts at Freeman, and her mother teaches third grade at Freeman Elementary, he said.

Nees is on Freeman’s cheerleading squad, said Brynn Van Orden, 16.

“She’s always happy and always smiling,” Van Orden said.

At Wednesday’s vigil in River Park Square, Van Orden was still in shock.

“Freeman is so small,” she said. “We’re like a big family. You’d never see this coming.”

Josie Schultes said Nees is a “sweet girl.”

“She’s just cracking jokes all the time,” Schultes said.

Gracie Jensen plays volleyball for the school.

“She’s shy, (but) she’s really nice,” said Bailey Coumont, 15.

Freeman graduate Tyler Stewart, 19, said Goldsmith and Jensen are best friends.

Goldsmith also plays volleyball, Coumont said.

Grace Holt, 15, described Goldsmith as the “light on the team.”

“Jordyn is a kind person who loves everyone,” Holt said.

Nina Culver contributed to this report.