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.
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Police inside Seattle Pacific's Otto Miller Hall after they had taken a suspect into custody. Jillian Smith, a sophomore from West Seattle, took the photo. (Click to enlarge.)

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.

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