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Frightening scene at Seattle Pacific University as shooting claims at least 1 life

Officials credit a student security monitor with subduing the gunman. At least one other student was critically injured.

Updated at 9:21 a.m.

A shooter walked into a building at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday afternoon and opened fire with a shotgun, taking the life of one male student and sending three others to the hospital. 

A woman, 19, sustained critical wounds and was taken into surgery at Harborview Medical Center on Thursday night. She remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition on Friday morning. Two other victims, both men, were hospitalized with less serious injuries. Police said that it appeared the shooting was the work of a lone gunman. The suspect, Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, of Mountlake Terrace, was booked into King County Jail for investigation of murder. As far as police know, he was not a student at the university. He had additional rounds of ammunition with him and was also carrying a knife, said Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh.

The shootings took place in Otto Miller Hall, which houses the divisions of computer science, engineering, math and physics. SPU is a Christian university and says it has about 4,000 undergraduates and graduates at its campus in north Queen Anne.

The gunman fired multiple rounds, but police could not verify how many. When the man paused to reload his shotgun, a student security monitor, now widely identified as Jon Meis, 22, pepper-sprayed him and stopped him from firing again, said West Precinct Capt. and incident commander Chris Fowler at a press conference Thursday evening. Other students then helped Meis subdue the shooter.

"Regular citizens stepped up and tried to do the right thing and in this case I believe they prevented a more horrible tragedy than it was today," McDonagh said.

Fowler said the first call about the incident was received at 3:23 p.m. and officers were on the scene by 3:27 p.m. They entered the hall shortly afterward.


The scene at West Nickerson Street and Third Avenue West following Thursday's shooting. Photo: Bill Lucia 

The student who died was in his 20s, according to the Seattle Police Department. He suffered a gunshot wound to his upper body, according to Seattle Fire Department Assistant Chief Jay Hagen. The student, Hagen said, received CPR at the scene and on his way to the hospital, but was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center.

The young woman who underwent surgery Thursday night also received an upper body gunshot wound, Hagen said. According to Harborview Medical Center, she was in intensive care on Friday morning. 

Another male victim, 24, suffered pellet-type wounds to his neck and chest area and remained in the hospital in satisfactory condition on Friday morning. A third man in his 20s suffered minor abdominal wounds while struggling with the suspect. He was released from the hospital by Friday morning. Hagen did not specify what had caused the abdominal wounds. 

The Seattle Fire Department received a call about the shooting at 3:25 p.m. Firefighters and medics arrived on the scene at 3:30 p.m. and began tending to a patient one minute later. Hagen said they were on the road in five minutes, and arrived at Harborview Medical Center with that patient 10 minutes later.

"I think a lot went right today," Hagen said. "We've been practicing this type of thing for a long time, because unfortunately it seems like these events are becoming more common.


The shooting took place at Otto Miller Hall, which is located on Third Avenue West near West Nickerson Street.

Police confirmed that three of the four young people were injured in a sitting area inside the hall.

Fighting back tears as he addressed reporters, Daniel J. Martin, president of the university, said it was his understanding that the student security monitor had acted "without regard for [his] own safety on behalf of others."


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Jun 6, 9:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Very good reporting here, Bill and Crosscut, on a very tough topic. Thank you for this.

DJ Wilson

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