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Hero of Seattle campus attack: Shooter looked sad

SEATTLE (AP) - College student Jon Meis, who has shied away from the spotlight since he ended a Seattle campus shooting by pepper-spraying the gunman last week, said Monday it's hard to accept his status as a hero.

Meis, 22, and his family have declined media requests since the shooting, with relatives going as far as to ask his high school not to grant interviews about him.

But on Monday, Meis issued a written statement through Seattle Pacific University, where the shooting occurred Thursday. He said he's praying for the victims, that the tragedy deepened his respect for the work of first responders, and that the gunman appeared to be a sad, troubled young man, not a monster.

"I know that I am being hailed as a hero, and as many people have suggested I find this hard to accept," he wrote. "I am indeed a quiet and private individual; while I have imagined what it would be like to save a life I never believed I would be put in such a situation. It touches me truly and deeply to read online that parents are telling their children about me and telling them that real heroes do exist."

Meis is a dean's list senior at the small, Christian college in a leafy neighborhood north of downtown Seattle. He was working as a building monitor when the gunman walked into Otto Miller Hall and began firing a shotgun.

A 19-year-old student was killed and two others injured, and authorities say the carnage almost certainly would have continued had Meis not acted by spraying and tackling the shooter while he reloaded.

Meis credited "God's grace" for enabling him to stop the shooter, whom police have identified as Aaron Ybarra, 26, of the north Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace.

"When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man," Meis wrote.

Meis said he's not ready to forgive him, but added: "I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community."

Ybarra is being held without bail and has been on suicide watch at King County Jail. His lawyer says he's sorry about the shooting and that he has a long history of mental problems.

Ybarra had at least 50 additional shotgun rounds, and after he was arrested he told investigators he planned to kill as many people as possible and himself, police said.

Meis also said he has been overwhelmed by generosity and support. An online campaign has raised about $50,000 for him, and supporters bought items on a wedding registry for Meis and his fiancee.

He requested that any future donations be directed to the victims of the shooting through Seattle Pacific.

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ganderrrr June 09 2014 at 7:05 PM

This man is the NRA's worst nightmare....a good guy without a gun who defeated a bad guy with a gun!

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23 replies
LMetz11822 June 09 2014 at 9:40 PM

For every crazed killer like Ybarra there is also someone like Jon Meiss who helps to balance out the bad with the good; which helps to restore our faith in humankind.

We might not have ever heard of Ybarra, Meiss and/or the four shot and one killed if we had gotten past the disinformation that the NRA is spreading to their supporters; which turns them into antigovernment paranoids.

Gun control is about only selling guns to responsible people and implementing regulations, such as background checks, that will try to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness; as well as to restrict the sale of automatic weapons whose only purpose is to kill people.

NRA supporters will say its people who kill, but for each person that is senselessly murdered; their autopsy report is not going to say that they died from people wounds. Whether these people who support the NRA know it or not; they are also indirectly responsible for these types of killings.

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8 replies
agent12199 June 09 2014 at 7:14 PM

gandrrr.....leave it to someone to turn a wonderful story into a political statement!!

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4 replies
frankiegale1 June 09 2014 at 7:49 PM

God bless this young hero! He is truly a compassionate soul to be able to see sadness in a killer's face! May God be with the grieving families and the whole community. Something like that affects many, many people.

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Humberto June 10 2014 at 2:13 AM

It so sad that people look any opportunity to say I told you guns are bad, what do not want to admitted that recently weeks were knifes violence, where are all you at the moment? guns are not the problem , people are, it is like any tools, Internet, etc, now we need more regulation to avoid the guns to be in hands of instable mental person? yes indeed, without the interfere with the right of a regular person, however, that will not stop the killing, with guns, knife, or a bat, because people will look anything to commit acts of violence. What we need is to restore a real education in the children with love and discipline in a family setting.

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1 reply
flyingrabbit88 Humberto June 10 2014 at 2:34 AM

look at china a few guys w/ machette or knives killed & wounded many , that is why in the old china only one butcher knife to 10 families , food is cut up in kitchen and everyone had to use chopsticks,
it is the person and not the weapon , otherwise we will all be sharing one kitchen knife !!!!

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John Eric June 09 2014 at 6:52 PM


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madddddddddddddd June 09 2014 at 10:40 PM

God bless this boy foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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Ms. Dragon June 09 2014 at 11:26 PM

Did anyone notice the gunman was taken out, not by a gun carried for protection, but by pepper spray? Hello? NRA? Paying attention?

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8 replies
deljmar99 June 10 2014 at 1:38 AM

God bless the deceased, the injured and Jon Meis.
Strength to the families.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
RAYSTMARY June 09 2014 at 7:18 PM

notice it was a shot gun, one approved even by anti gun advocates...

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3 replies
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