Student killed in Seattle Pacific shooting identified


by KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 1:38 PM

SEATTLE - Students at Seattle Pacific University have identified the person killed in Thursday’s shooting as Paul Lee, a freshman from Portland. Two other victims remained in the hospital Friday.

Sarah Williams, 19, remained in critical but stable condition Friday, and a 24-year-old student was in stable condition.

The suspect, 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, has been booked for investigation of homicide and is scheduled to make a court appearance Friday afternoon.

Mountlake Terrace Police say Ybarra was hospitalized twice in recent years for mental health evaluations. Assistant Chief Pete Caw said officers encountered Ybarra in 2010 and 2012.

Caw says both times, Ybarra was severely intoxicated and taken to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds for evaluation. In the October 2012 incident, police found him lying in a roadway.

Classes were canceled Friday at Seattle Pacific University, following the shooting at Otto Miller Hall. The university held a noon service of "prayer, lament and worship" at noon at the First Free Methodist Church on campus.

Police say that when Ybarra stopped to reload his shotgun Thursday, building monitor Jon Meis pepper-sprayed him and subdued him with the help of others and prevented more deaths.

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

Ybarra was booked into the King County Jail late Thursday for investigation of homicide.

"He seemed like a good kid, but he was dislodged from reality a little bit,” said Jason Wells, a friend of Ybarra.

Wells says the two met at a local bar and stayed friends. Wells says Ybarra had an alcohol problem, so he took him under his wing.

“I tried to get him on the right track, even letting him sleep on my couch. He kind of looked at me like a big brother,” Wells said.
Wells can’t remember any talk about guns or Seattle Pacific University from Ybarra. But, he says there were a few times when Ybarra acted strangely.

“He would say, ‘I’m going to kill everyone’”, Wells said. “I never took him seriously.”

Late Thursday and early Friday, police searched a house in Mountlake Terrace that was believed tied to Ybarra.

The Seattle Times 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 at a store.

He said Ybarra didn't do drugs or drink alcohol and spent time writing. Ybarra could get emotionally low, but McKinley said he had a good group of friends and never saw him depressed.

Edmonds Community College said Ybarra was formerly a student there, but that he had not taken classes since the summer of 2012.

McDonagh said he did not know the gunman's motive or intended target. Detectives are "working as quickly as we can to figure it out," he said.

The university locked down its campus for several hours, and it alerted students and staff to stay inside. Some students were taking finals in the building that the shooter entered.

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

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

Seven people were killed and three injured when a 43-year-old former student opened fire at a tiny Christian school, Oikos University, in Oakland, California, in 2012. A gunman killed five people and injured 18 when he opened fire in a Northern Illinois University lecture hall in 2008.

In 2007, 32 people were fatally shot in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before the gunman killed himself.

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