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Seattle student pepper-sprayed, tackled gunman

By Manuel Valdes & Phuong Le

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:35 a.m. HST, Jun 06, 2014

SEATTLE >> The man blasting away with a shotgun paused to reload, and Jon Meis saw his chance.

The 22-year-old building monitor pepper-sprayed and tackled the gunman Thursday afternoon in Seattle Pacific University's Otto Miller Hall, likely preventing further carnage, according to police and university officials.

Meis and other students subdued him until officers arrived and handcuffed him moments later.

Police said the shooter, who killed a 19-year-old man and wounded two other young people, had additional rounds and a knife.

"I'm proud of the selfless actions that my roommate, Jon Meis, showed today taking down the shooter," fellow student Matt Garcia wrote on Twitter. "He is a hero."

Meis, a dean's list electrical engineering student, was emotionally anguished but not injured in the shooting, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Friday. He was treated and released from the hospital.

The leafy campus of the small, private, Christian university about 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle was quiet the morning after the shooting, with a service planned at midday. Flowers and candles were laid on the street near Otto Miller Hall, which was taped off as a crime scene. People stopped by the makeshift memorial to pay their respects, and some students milled about or prayed in groups.

Few details had emerged about the man arrested in the shooting, Aaron R. Ybarra, 26. He was booked into the King County Jail late Thursday for investigation of homicide, according to police and the jail roster, and he was scheduled to make an initial appearance in a jail courtroom Friday afternoon.

"We just hope he's safe," the suspect's father, Ambrose Ybarra, told The Seattle Times on Thursday. "It's upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We're in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm."

Phone messages left by The Associated Press for Ybarra's family were not immediately returned. Ybarra is not a student at the school, police said.

Investigators searched a house in the north Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace believed to be tied to Ybarra late Thursday.

The victims included a critically wounded 19-year-old woman who remained in intensive care Friday after a five-hour surgery, as well as 24-year-old man in satisfactory condition, Gregg said. Their identities had not been released.

Meis kept a low profile the day after the shooting. An outgoing voice message at a phone listing for his parents' home in Renton said, "We ask that you please respect our privacy during this time while we recover." It solicited prayers for students and the family of the man killed.

In an email to the AP, Garcia declined to comment Friday out of respect for his roommate's privacy.

Another roommate, Ryan Salgado, on Thursday gave The Seattle Times a detailed account of what happened, as relayed to him by Meis. Salgado said Meis seemed to be in shock afterward.

Meis typically carries pepper spray with him wherever he goes, because he likes to be prepared, Salgado said.

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

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

The Seattle Times said Zack McKinley, a friend of Ybarra, described him as "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 had a good group of friends, McKinley said.

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 to figure out the gunman's motive or intended target. He said it appears he acted alone.

On Thursday evening, an overflow crowd packed the First Free Methodist Church on campus for a service of prayers and song. The university canceled 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 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.


Associated Press writers Rachel La Corte in Olympia and Manuel Valdes and Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle contributed to this report.

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HonoluluHawaii wrote:
So lucky we live Hawaii. Disagreements at mainland locations are pronounced compared to Hawaii, where we are bound on all sides by The Pacific Ocean.
on June 5,2014 | 01:39PM
krusha wrote:
Seems like everyone on the mainland owns a gun. More like the wild west out there.
on June 5,2014 | 02:02PM
HD36 wrote:
Switzerland requires every adult male to posses a gun, yet there is virtually no gun crime rate. In fact one of the main reasons the Nazi's didn't invade Switzerland is because everyone owned a gun. If you really want to kill a lot of people, you don't need a gun. You could drive your car into a crowd. You could poison food.
on June 5,2014 | 04:11PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
This seems absurd because how can we be sure we are not arming the criminal element?
on June 5,2014 | 06:42PM
st1d wrote:
the criminal background checks performed before anyone takes legal possession of a firearm ensures that firearms go to law abiding citizens.
on June 5,2014 | 06:58PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
In other words, the person entrusted with the gun has been deemed to be an elephant and not Jack The Ripper. We do not like to stereotype individuals who seem to be "The Honor Roll" student who gets very good grades yet seems to have had the need to "hunt" his fellow man. More details to follow. 10-4 over and out. See ya .……
on June 6,2014 | 01:11AM
skinut wrote:
You mean the background checks that are non-existent at gun shows because of the NRA's paranoia?
on June 6,2014 | 09:49AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Yes Hawaii is much mellow, which we can be proud of. Now if we get Uncle Neil and Cousin Kirk to deal with the homeless, we would be true paradise !!!!
on June 5,2014 | 06:41PM
Morimoto wrote:
Huh? So you're saying something like this can't happen in Hawaii. There was the Xerox killings a while ago. Also the freeway shootings fairly recently. Really there are crazy people everywhere and this could happen anywhere. If you don't know that you have your head in the sand. The Pacific Ocean has nothing to do with this. There are other islands that are extremely violent (Papau New Guinea, Jamaica). Also the mainland isn't one homogeneous place.
on June 5,2014 | 02:15PM
eoe wrote:
Yes the pacific ocean does. Because we have strict gun laws, and no borders with red states. Not coincidentally our gun crime rate is third lowest in the nation. And xerox killing was 15 years ago, that is the best you can do?
on June 5,2014 | 02:22PM
Pocho wrote:
I don't know. Didn't we just have gun wielding bandits rob a couple of banks on Oahu? Doesn't matter who got stricter laws, if an unstable person wants to get a gun he will and for sure Criminals will find a way to get one whereas your regular law abiding Joe6Pack can't carry one on himself?
on June 5,2014 | 03:16PM
HD36 wrote:
Remember the theatre shootings? The guy picked the only theatre in the area that restricted guns. I guess he figured people would shoot him back if they had guns.
on June 5,2014 | 04:13PM
Morimoto wrote:
I'm talking violence by crazy people. Didn't you hear of the freeway shootings? I'm just saying this can happen anywhere and it's happened in Hawaii. It's not like this is an everyday thing on the mainland either. Is that the best you can do?
on June 5,2014 | 03:28PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Moto boto
on June 6,2014 | 01:12AM
HD36 wrote:
"Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Domestic Evidence" Contrary to conventional wisdom, and the [a]nd generally anti-gun counterparts across the pond, the answer is "no." And not just no, as in there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, but an emphatic no, showing a negative correlation: as gun ownership increases, murder and suicide decreases. The findings of two criminologists-Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser-in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling: Volume 30, Number 2 of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (pp. 649-694)
on June 5,2014 | 04:07PM
csdhawaii wrote:
Interesting. What did they say about Australia? The thing is, the US has the highest gun ownership rate; and the highest number of gun deaths in developed countries. There has to be a relatioship between those two.
on June 5,2014 | 05:41PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Of course there is a relationship between gun availability and gun violence however someone determined to kill would not be stopped by this. They would just use another method to kill.
on June 5,2014 | 07:51PM
HD36 wrote:
From what I saw Australia was in the top 10 and the US wasn't.
on June 5,2014 | 08:09PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The United States of America has the highest rate violent crime in these parts. Well Malaysia is now in the spotlight for destroying 200 some odd of China's 9 hundred billion people.
on June 6,2014 | 01:15AM
Morimoto wrote:
Actually depending on which study you read there is no conclusive evidence gun ownership either reduces or increase murder and suicide. I don't doubt that specific study but I've seen other studies that suggest otherwise. Bottom line is the jury's still out. There are so many other factors it's next to impossible to come up with a definite answer.
on June 6,2014 | 12:12PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I go look in the phone book for all Morimoto.
on June 5,2014 | 06:42PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Nah I no like u guys tink I one obscene phone caller lol
on June 6,2014 | 01:16AM
Morimoto wrote:
Last I checked anyone can pick a screen name called "Morimoto". You don't have to be named "Morimoto" to use that screen name. Maybe I'm a big fan of Iron Chef.
on June 6,2014 | 12:13PM
4watitsworth wrote:
I agree with Morimoto. There are crazy people everywhere and we cannot become lax thinking it won't happen here. Some of the school shootings happened in areas where residents thought things like this don't happen here. You never know.
on June 6,2014 | 08:45AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
We aren't clear just yet. Lots of kids from Hawaii attend SPU. Here's hoping they all make it home safe for the summer.
on June 5,2014 | 03:09PM
false wrote:
Are you not confusing Seattle Pacific University(SPU) with Seattle University (SU)? SPU is a small private university located near Lake Union whereas SU is a large university located in central Seattle. I know a lot of Hawaii kids go to SU but wasn't sure of SPU.
on June 5,2014 | 04:11PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Could be confusing HPU with SPU. Punahou gotta go mainland, make shame if "only" go to UH.
on June 6,2014 | 01:17AM
hikine wrote:
This why I don't like shootings sensationalized because copy cats shootings are going to happen. It just takes one news to trigger someone else from doing the same thing.
on June 5,2014 | 02:10PM
false wrote:
The person with the pepper spray will probably be arrested for having a "weapon" on campus and be expelled. The other students who helped will be arrested for assault, and the shooter will become a millionaire by suing the university and writing a book.
on June 5,2014 | 06:03PM
RichardCory wrote:
Sure, if by "probably" you mean "certainly not."
on June 5,2014 | 06:24PM
Anonymous wrote:
Should we start building a moat around places of learning, like they did around castles in 14th century Europe ?
on June 5,2014 | 06:25PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
ABSOLUTE CROSS MY HEART HOPE TO DIE TRUTH: this morning in Kapolei 7-11, I seen a chubby person wearing a Tie. He said he's lived in Kapolei for six years and he is a Psychologist assigned to the military Death Penalty case.
on June 5,2014 | 06:45PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
This morning in Kapolei 7-11, I seen a person wearing a Tie. He said he's lived in Kapolei for six years and he is a Psychologist assigned to the military case.
on June 5,2014 | 06:47PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I had a lot more to talk about this, however I got disenchanted with your HSA screener flagging words such as deàth pènalty.
on June 6,2014 | 01:18AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Give that student a medal, he probably saved a few lives with the pepper spray.
on June 5,2014 | 07:42PM
environmental_lady wrote:
Not one more! Sorry, Martinez, there will be many more. Any crazy can get a gun and shoot at will. This is the sad state of affairs in our country.
on June 5,2014 | 10:34PM
krusha wrote:
Shows what happens when you don't have a high-capacity magazine and need to reload often. If that guy had a 100-bullet magazine AR-15 instead, then probably dozens would have been killed instead of just one. Seems like every week we see some kind of gun violence scenario like this on the mainland. Lucky we live in Hawaii where stuff like this is rare due to the strict gun laws here.
on June 6,2014 | 07:18AM
Morimoto wrote:
Well the mainland has about 300 times more people than Hawaii so naturally it will occur more there than here. Places like Montana and Vermont have far less restrictive gun laws than Hawaii yet their murder rates are even lower than Hawaii? Also the number of random multiple shootings are very small compared to all other types of shootings (gang, drug related, domestic), despite what the media has you thinking.
on June 6,2014 | 12:21PM
jusjoking wrote:
On Oahu too many crabs in one small bucket. Engineered for way more crabs by progress.
on June 6,2014 | 01:32PM
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