Prosecutor: School shooter thought about attacks at WSU, CWU


by KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 10 at 5:29 PM

SEATTLE - Prosecutors will seek a life sentence for the man accused of opening fire at Seattle Pacific University last week, killing one student and injuring two more.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg on Tuesday filed four formal charges against 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra of Mountlake Terrace. Ybarra faces first-degree murder for the death of 19-year-old Paul Lee , two counts of attempted first-degree murder and and one count of second-degree assault.

A standard sentence if convicted ranges between 69-to-86 years, but Satterberg said he will seek an exception to have Ybarra put away for life.

Authorities say Ybarra walked into Otto Miller Hall in last Thursday's attack and began firing a shotgun. Ybarra had at least 50 additional shotgun rounds when he was apprehended, police said.

Satterberg said Ybarra had no formal connection to Seattle Pacific University and kept journals for two weeks outlining his plan, which he expected to end in his own death. On the day of the attack, Satterberg said the suspect wrote: "I just want people to die and I'm going to die with them."

According to Satterberg, Ybarra thought about shooting people at Washington State University and Central Washington University before deciding on Seattle Pacific University. Satterberg said he had visited the SPU campus at least twice and was shown around by an academic counselor and students.

Ybarra allegedly expressed admiration for the violence at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University.

Despite Ybarra's documented history of mental illness, Satterberg said he was allowed to legally have a gun and purchased it from a Kenmore shooting range years ago.

Satterberg said Ybarra has admitted to the crime and had stopped taking his medication six months ago because he wanted to "feel his hate." Ybarra is being held without bail and has been on suicide watch at King County Jail.

Satterberg also made a point to praise Jon Meis, the school security monitor who pepper-sprayed and wrestled Ybarra to the floor.

"Jon Meis is an authentic hero. He fearlessly confronted a shooter who had fully planned on killing more innocent people. In taking quick action, he saved many more lives," said Satterberg.

"Courage is an instinct that is tested without wanring, to rush toward danger, instead of running away from it. In the defendant's plan to murder innocent students, he did not anticipate the courage of Jon Meis."


KING 5's Chris Daniels contributed to this report.