Police have released 911 calls from bystanders, students, faculty and one victim of the shooting Thursday at a small Seattle university.
“Please hurry,” whispered one student, who said she was locked in an office with her professor near Otto Miller Hall at Seattle Pacific University. The student said she still heard commotion in the lobby of the hall and thought the gunman might still be directly outside the office.
“I heard someone yell, ‘everyone stand up’ so I’m pretty sure he’s still in here,” the professor calmly explained to the dispatcher.
The Seattle Police Department released what they called “chilling and fairly graphic” audio to highlight “the remarkable calm and resourcefulness of students, faculty, and other witnesses in the moments after a gunman opened fire at Otto Miller Hall."
A 19-year-old freshman student was killed and three others were wounded in the violence that suspect, Aaron Rey Ybarra, 26, has since admitted to. He is being held without bond at the King County Jail on homicide charges.
Ybarra, who was not a student at the private Christian college, had a history of violence and had researched previous mass shootings, police said. He told detectives he wanted to kill as many people as he could.
Elaine Thompson / AP
Shooting suspect Aaron Ybarra, left, is led in chains to a court hearing at a King County Jail courtroom on June 6 in Seattle. Ybarra was arrested in the killing of a 19-year-old student and wounding of two other young people Thursday at Seattle Pacific University. Police say another student pepper-sprayed and tackled him.
Two witnesses who called from their car told police that a man walked up behind a person near the university “lifted his rifle and shot directly into the back of the person’s head.”
The couple in the car said they saw the shooter reload his gun, but didn't know where he went next.
“I just had someone run in here and he’s bleeding at from a wound on his neck,” said a different caller from Otto Miller Hall.
That victim then got on the phone with the dispatcher and provided a description of the shooter in a calm and steady voice, adding, “I was hit with shrapnel. It looked like bird shot according to the person who was patching me up.”
He told the dispatcher that he knew of two other people who were hit — one who was shot directly and “immediately fell.”
The dispatcher urged the victim to stay on the phone until police arrived, and the last thing the victim relayed before hanging up was, “they have the suspect in custody.”
Seattle Police Capt. Chris Fowler said Thursday that a student security guard halted the rampage by spraying the suspect with pepper spray, allowing other students to step in and subdue him.
The quick-thinking student has been identified as Jon Meis and hailed as a hero. Meis hasn't spoken out or sought recognition, but an online fundraiser started as a token of gratitude had garnered more than $40,000 for his upcoming marriage as of Sunday afternoon.
Police have since determined that Ybarra was carrying 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife.
First published June 8 2014, 8:39 AM