Student killed in Seattle Pacific shooting identified


by KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 8:12 AM

SEATTLE - Students at Seattle Pacific University have identified the person killed in Thursday’s shooting as Paul Lee, 19, a freshman from Portland. 

Friends tell KGW TV in Portland that Lee had graduated from Westview High School in Beaverton. His friends said Lee, a Key Club member, was "really funny" and "a great guy."

"He was just always happy, giving smiles to everybody," said his friend Mike Chang. "Whenever you were down, he just brings you up with jokes."

Lee's Japanese teacher at Westview remembered him as a "ray of light."

"It was impossible to be around him and  not to be happy," Brian Bangerter said.

One of Lee's closest friends said he couldn't imagine not being able to hear his friend's laugh one more time.

"To be honest, sometimes I don't even know why we would be laughing, but just hearing his laugh is priceless. Even though Paul was one of my close friends, it doesn't take much for him to be loved by many others," said Jason Nguyen. "He touched everyone in ways one cannot imagine." 

Friends took to Twitter and Instagram to express their condolences and post photos of their friend.

"Paul Lee. I can't even believe you're gone. Ante up, math class, and just seeing you around campus and dancing with you brightened my life immeasurably. I am blessed and honored to have known you. You will live on through all of us and I expect you to teach us your dance from heaven at 6pm tonight," friend Sarrah Rasmussen said on Instagram.

The suspect, 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, was booked for investigation of homicide and made his first court appearance Friday. His public defender, Ramona Brandes, said Ybarra was in a "delusional" state during the shooting and is sorry for the suffering he caused. He is on suicide watch.

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 (the gunman) stepped up."

One of the two surviving victims remains hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center. The hospital said 19-year-old Sarah Williams was upgraded from critical to serious and stable condition. She underwent five hours of surgery Thursday night and was recovering in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit with wounds to her abdomen Friday.

“Right now it’s a day of monitoring her,” Harborview representative Susan Gregg explained. “All these patients and the families are going through a lot of mental anguish and trauma dealing with this incident."

The second victim, identified by Harborview as SPU student Thomas Fowler, 24, was in stable condition and released from the hospital Friday night.

“(He) suffered pellet fragments to his neck, chin and side of his upper extremities,” Gregg explained.

SPU junior and teaching assitant Nikki Hallberg is friends with both of the surviving victims. She describes Williams as "very smart and energetic and caring" and Fowler "funny" and "makes you laugh."

"He sounds okay. He's just glad no one else got hurt," said Hallberg.

Meis, the 22-year-old student building monitor who helped subdue the suspect, was checked at the hospital Thursday night and then released.  He was not physically injured in the struggle.

Meanwhile, flowers and candles for Lee and the two surviving victims have popped up on the Seattle Pacific University campus near Otto Miller Hall, where crime tape have remains.

"Just looking at it, it just gives me goose bumps thinking that's where I grew up basically. It's like changed now," said Hallberg.


KING 5's Glenn Farley contributed to this report.