PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting, KOIN 6 News talked to a former Oregon fire chief who responded to the 1998 Thurston High School shooting who also pioneered a program that worked to prevent school shootings for nearly a decade.

On May 21, 1998, 15-year-old Kip Kinkel, a freshman at Thurston High School in Springfield shot and killed two student and wounded 25 more.

“I got into my office before eight in the morning, which was my common practice and I got a phone call from the incident commander responding. He called me on the cell phone and told me that they were responding to Thurston High School,” Dennis Murphy, who was the Springfield fire chief at the time, explained.

“And I just dropped my jaw what they said they were responding to…and they said the report was multiple students down, an active shooter,” Murphy said.

Within 24 hours, Murphy launched a non-profit organization named Ribbon of Promise to end school violence. The approach was to challenge students nationwide to report warning signs to avert acts of school violence.

“These students wanted to break it, break that lid of silence,” Murphy said. “We then tracked numerous school attacks that were planned before and after Columbine where they were thwarted by students speaking up.”

Ribbon of Promise officially shut down in 2007 due to a lack of funding, but Murphy is proud of the work they did. He says they tracked over 40 attacks that were prevented.

KOIN 6 News asked Murphy what it will take to take to end school shootings.

“Intel, intel, intel. Sorry to be CIA-like there, FBI-like, but it’s Intel…and we’ve got to be willing to speak up when we’re not sure,” Murphy said.

Murphy, a gun owner, says he doesn’t want to get in the middle of the gun debate but does believe it needs to be part of the conversation.

“We can’t avoid it to death, avoid it to the death of more people. We’ve gotta bring it in and say, ‘Okay, what’s the extremes?’ because the extremes are the ones that get used to carry out these heinous acts,” Murphy explained.

Murphey said someone should have raised a red flag when the Uvalde shooter bought AR-style rifles when he turned 18 and he believes anyone who had even a suspicion about the shooter’s plans should have said something.