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Connected to Both Sides, Relatives in Washington Shooting Seek Answers

Compounding the tragedy of the Marysville shooting is the fact that many in the small community are connected to both the attacker and the victims.
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Compounding the tragedy of the Marysville high school shooting in Washington state on Friday is the fact that many people in the small community are connected to both the attacker and the victims.

And the young relatives of the boy who opened fire at a Washington High School Friday — killing one student and seriously injuring four before fatally shooting himself — said they just can't figure out why the shooter decided to do what he did.

"It's just confusing, a lot of questions aren't answered, I just don't know why," Austen James, who said he's related to the shooter, Jaylen Ray Fryberg, as well as two of his targets, told TODAY.

Alex Hatch, a 15-year-old friend and relative of Fryberg and two of the victims, was sitting in the Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria, where the shooting began and ended within minutes.

Fryberg "had a look on his face like he was just realizing what he did," Hatch said, adding that he thinks the young gunman "had a change of heart," because "if he'd wanted to, he could have gone on." Instead, Fryberg turned the gun on himself as a teacher ran toward him to intercept the weapon, Hatch said.

Other student witnesses have said that the teacher pushed Fryberg's arm away as he aimed the gun at her. That teacher has been identified by Randy Davis, the president of the Marysville Education Association, as first-year social studies teacher Megan Silberberger.

Davis told NBC News on Saturday that Silberberger and the district were doing their best to "cope," adding Sunday that the teacher "doesn't feel like a hero." Silberberger "feels like she just tried to protect kids," Davis said.

The two male victims Nate Hatch, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, are Fryberg's cousins, Nate Hatch's grandfather, Don Hatch, said Saturday. Nate Hatch suffered a jaw injury and is in in serious condition, and Andrew Fryberg was in critical condition with a head injury after undergoing “extensive surgery,” according to a statement from Harborview Medical Center Seattle, where the boys are being treated.

Two female victims, Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both 14, suffered head wounds during the shooting and were both in critical condition at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, hospital officials said Saturday.

Fryberg also killed a female student, who has not been identified yet. Investigators haven't released a motive for the shooting.



— Joe Fryer and Elisha Fieldstadt