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Heroic students helped stop gunman at Seattle university


SEATTLE (AP) -- When a lone gunman armed with a shotgun at a small Seattle university stopped firing at students to reload, another student pepper-sprayed him and subdued him with the help of others and prevented more deaths, police said.

"There are a number of heroes in this," Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said. "The people around (the gunman) stepped up."

A 19-year-old man was fatally shot and two other young people were wounded after the gunman entered the foyer at Otto Miller Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus and started shooting Thursday afternoon. When he paused to reload, a student building monitor disarmed him. The gunman had additional rounds and a knife, McDonagh said.

"But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic," he said.

The man in custody was not a student at the school, McDonagh told a news conference.

Four people, including the young man who died, were taken to Harborview Medical Center. A critically wounded 19-year-old woman remained in intensive care Friday, according to the hospital. A 24-year-old man was in satisfactory condition. A 22-year-old man injured in the struggled with the suspect was treated and released, officials said.

None of the victims was immediately identified.

Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, was booked into the King County Jail late Thursday for investigation of homicide, according to police and the jail roster.

Also late Thursday, police who said they were serving a warrant entered a house believed tied to Ybarra. A phone message left at that house in the north Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace was not immediately returned.

Messages left with friends and relatives of Ybarra via social media were not immediately returned.

The Seattle Times reported that the suspect's father, Ambrose Ybarra, said he did not know anything about the shooting.

"We just hope he's safe," he told the newspaper. "It's upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We're in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm."

The paper said Zack McKinley described himself as one of Ybarra's closest friends and said he was "super happy and friendly."

McKinley said the attack was puzzling because Ybarra was happy to have just started a job bagging groceries. Ybarra could get emotionally low, but McKinley said he had a good group of friends and never saw him depressed.

Student Chris Howard was at Otto Miller Hall when the shooting happened. He said he saw the wounded woman on the floor. Her phone was covered in blood, but she asked those helping her to look through her phone for her mother, aunt and best friend.

"She was panicking," Howard said. "She said `I think I'm going to die.'"

Howard said he also saw the suspect pinned on the floor.

"The suspect was calm. Not speaking. Not moving. Not struggling. Just there," Howard said.

The shooting came a week before the end of the school year.

McDonagh said detectives are working as quickly as they can to figure out the gunman's motive or intended target. He said it appears the suspect acted alone.

The university locked down its campus for several hours. Some students were taking finals in the building that the shooter entered.

On Thursday evening, an overflow crowd packed the First Free Methodist Church on campus for a service of prayers and song. The private Christian university cancelled classes Friday and planned to hold a service of "prayer, lament and worship" at noon.

"We're a community that relies on Jesus Christ for strength, and we'll need that at this point in time," said Daniel Martin, university president.

The school's 40-acre campus is in a leafy residential neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle.

Jillian Smith was taking a math test on the second floor of Otto Miller Hall when a lockdown was ordered.

She heard police yelling and banging on doors in the hallway. The professor locked the classroom door the students lined up at the front of the classroom.

"We were pretty much freaking out," said Smith, 20, a sophomore.

Smith said she saw bullet casings and what appeared to be blood on the lobby carpet and wall as she left the building.

"Seeing blood made it real," Smith said. "I didn't think something like this would happen at our school."

The gun violence follows a spate of recent shootings on or near college campuses.

Last month, Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured seven before turning his gun on himself in a rampage in Isla Vista, California, near two universities, according to police.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, noting previous mass shootings in the city, said: "Once again the epidemic of gun violence has come to Seattle."


One Dead in Seattle Campus Shooting

Join the discussion

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bri71666 June 06 2014 at 2:05 PM

Another idiot. Its NOT gun violence! its people violence. Funny how when all these stabbings hit nobody says anything. When a gun is involved its gun violence. Its mental illness people!

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11 replies
car nut2 June 06 2014 at 3:02 PM

I'd rather be called a gun owner than be called a victim!

Flag Reply +22 rate up
4 replies
feralkkitty June 06 2014 at 2:16 PM

I just love the whole "guns don't kill people, people kill people" mentality. The fact is that people with guns kill other people. (and knives, etc).

Flag Reply +12 rate up
13 replies
NormalNot June 06 2014 at 2:02 PM

Jesus people! When will we figure out that while we have people with mental illness the world over, we have so many gun deaths here because of GUNS!

Flag Reply +12 rate up
12 replies
byjomat22 June 06 2014 at 2:59 PM

I think the media is to blame for some of this craziness! The media is promoting this stuff. I realize its news...but, it's being promoted as a "trend"?

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
Pearltrans byjomat22 June 06 2014 at 5:40 PM

It's a trend because it's happening all the time. Maybe you would rather people not know there is an epidemic of gun violence, so they won't do anything about it?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Jay McKay Pearltrans June 07 2014 at 1:33 AM

The media should report the crime but not the name of the Perp...ever

Flag 0 rate up
rb Pearltrans June 07 2014 at 6:53 AM

There's an epidemic of mentally deranged people, killing other people. If the perpetrator didn't have a gun, don't you think he might find something else to inflict violence?

Flag +1 rate up
Dude June 06 2014 at 2:37 PM

I've asked this question dozens of times and never get an answer; can one of you liberals exaplain this to me; almost every mass shooting in the last 30 years has taken place in a gun free zone, so why do you want to create more gun free zones and provide these maniacs with more choices of a killing field? Sandy Hook Elementary, maniac with guns arrives, maniac meets no armed resistance, maniac slaughters 26. Sullivan Central High, maniac with guns arrives, maniac meets armed guard, maniac dies alone. See how that works? Yes, at Columbine the armed guard was killed first because the killers were students and knew who to murder so they could go on their rampage. If trained staff had weapons in safes in offices and classrooms, they would not have known who was a threat or been able to remove that threat. The Pearl High School shooter was stopped when the Vice Principal ran to his car, got his weapon, and the shooter surrendered immediately when confronted. Gun free zones? Why?

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10 replies
lalalexm June 06 2014 at 1:50 PM

Another "Gun Free Zone". Good thing those students acted without fear. Take a look at all the mass shootings that have happened and see how many were in "Gun Free Zones".

Flag Reply +9 rate up
3 replies
jthrwndw36 June 06 2014 at 3:21 PM

If they abolished the "Gun Free Zones" and allowed responsible citizens with their concealed carry permits to go wherever they want, things like this would be less likely to happen. When you are responsible, then the only time the citizens see you bring out your concealed carry it is a manner of life or death, otherwise it remains concealed until you are in the presence of your own home. Right now, it is open season for the bad guys and these seem to happening more often. Abolishing firearms will result in creating more criminals with guns. Seems like Adolf Hitler was one of the dictators to remove firearms from the citizens. What happened then? 6 million or more people died at the hands of his police..

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2 replies
Karen jthrwndw36 June 07 2014 at 1:40 AM

You are a wuss.

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perkins nursery jthrwndw36 June 07 2014 at 5:09 AM

The first thing done to the Jews was to disarm them.
The first thing done to the Germans after surrendering was to disarm EVERYONE
The first thing done to the Japanese after surrendering was to disarm EVERYONE
The first thing not done to the Iraqis(sp?) was to disarm EVERYONW...

So...who needs to be disarmed in These United States? Who would you compare yourself to?
Me, even if they do get my firearms away from me...I still have the most potent weapon available which we each posess...

And, after much thought, I do seriously believe that "homeland security" has clearly become Amerikaner Geheimpolizei. It is far more politically motivated than security conscious...

Flag Reply +1 rate up
cempiremtn June 06 2014 at 2:35 PM

A hero with a weapon, stopped the attack. Banning personal Defense weapons, for the people who wish to carry them, should be a Crime.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
jthrwndw36 June 06 2014 at 3:10 PM

I think if you have a concealed carry permit you should be allowed to carry it wherever you want. These "Gun Free Zones" should be abolished! Responsible citizens do not flash their concealed guns around. If this was the case then there may have been a responsible citizen nearby that could have saved lives. As it was someone at least had pepper spray! As it stands now its open season for the bad guys!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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