Final report on school shooting released

Trevor Varinecz

The State Law Enforcement Division has released the full report of its investigation into the incident that resulted in the death of a Carolina Forest High School student.

The report referenced -- but did not include -- a suicide note left by Varinecz on his personal computer, and it reaffirmed the notion that Varinecz intended to die by suicide on the morning of October 16, 2009.

In the final seconds of 16-year-old Trevor Varinecz's life, the young man thanked the school resource officer who had just shot him five times, a report released Monday by SLED showed.

According to a statement given by Carolina Forest High School Resource Officer Marcus Rhodes, Varinecz said "thank you" as he slumped over and slid down a wall after being shot.

Varinecz was pronounced dead at Conway Medical Center at 9:34 a.m. on October 16.

Just before 8:30 that morning, Varinecz asked to see Rhodes and walked to his office. Rhodes said he didn't know Varinecz and said the 16-year-old spoke in a strange voice.

When they got into Rhodes' office, the report says Trevor seemed anxious and asked Rhodes to close the door. Rhodes said no at first, but after Varinecz insisted, Rhodes allowed him to shut the door.

Rhodes said he was sitting close to Varinecz who asked Rhodes to look at a spider on the wall.

"I looked quickly over my right shoulder to pacify him," Rhodes wrote in his statement.

When he turned around, Rhodes said Varinecz lunged at him with a big knife. Rhodes said he struggled for a few minutes with Varinecz and began yelling for him to drop the knife so others could hear.

When he wasn't able to get the knife from Varinecz, Rhodes said he shot him once in the leg. According to the statement, Rhodes said Varinecz screamed in pain but became more determined and lunged after him again. This time, Varinecz began stabbing Rhodes multiple times in the back.

Other school administrators heard what was going on, but did not enter Rhodes' office out of fear it would put Rhodes in a more dangerous situation, the report showed.

Rhodes wrote in his statement that he realized he would not be able to stop the attack and feared Varinecz may gain access to his gun.

"I decided that I had to shoot the student to end the attack. I fired at him and pushed him away... He slid down the wall to the floor. As he slid down the wall, he said 'thank you,'" Rhodes wrote in the report.

Ten shell casings were recovered in Rhodes' office, and according to an autopsy report, five of those bullets hit Varinecz.

The Horry County Solicitor's Office last week cleared Rhodes of any wrong-doing.

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