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Seattle shooting suspect is sorry, attorney says

By Gene Johnson & Phuong Le

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:13 p.m. HST, Jun 06, 2014


SEATTLE >> The attorney for a man suspected of killing one student in a shooting rampage at a small Seattle university said he's sorry for the suffering he has caused.

Public defender Ramona Brandes said Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, has long had mental health problems and is on suicide watch at the jail.

"He is cognizant of the suffering of the victims and their families and the entire Seattle Pacific community," she said. "He is sorry."

The leafy campus of the private, Christian university about 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle was quiet the morning after the shooting, with a service held at midday. People stopped by a makeshift memorial near Otto Miller Hall to pay their respects.

The gunman had just entered the science and engineering building when he opened fire in the foyer. Classes were taking place upstairs.

Ybarra, 26,  was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of homicide. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in a jail courtroom Friday afternoon.

Ybarra had longstanding mental-health issues and has been treated and medicated in the past, his lawyer said. Brandes added she is seeking his treatment records and did not know his specific diagnosis.

Ybarra was hospitalized for mental health evaluations twice in recent years, said Pete Caw, assistant police chief in Ybarra's hometown, the Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace.

Officers encountered Ybarra in 2010 and 2012. Both times, he was severely intoxicated and taken to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds for evaluation, Caw said. In the October 2012 incident, police found Ybarra lying in a roadway.

He was arrested on suspicion of DUI in nearby Edmonds in 2012, said Edmonds police Sgt. Mark Marsh.

"We are so very shocked and sad over yesterday's shootings at SPU," Ybarra's family said in a statement. "We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people. To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you."

Ybarra is not a student at the school, police said.

Late Thursday, investigators searched a house in the north Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace believed to be tied to Ybarra.

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 were not released.

Ybarra's friend Zack McKinley described him as "super happy and friendly," The Seattle Times reported.

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.

McDonagh said detectives are working to determine the gunman's motive or intended target.

____

Associated Press writers Rachel La Corte in Olympia and Manuel Valdes and Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle contributed to this report, along with AP news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York.






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