One of five students shot in a deadly rampage at a Washington state high school Friday is improving, but answers as to why freshman Jaylen Fryberg opened fire on two of his cousins and three girls were still elusive Saturday, as the town of Marysville struggled to heal.
Dozens of people attended a small vigil at a church Saturday, for the second day since the 10:30 a.m. shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School that left a young girl dead and four wounded. Fryberg killed himself after being confronted by a teacher.
"Someone described what happened as a rip in our tapestry, our life in Marysville,” Pastor John Mason said during a prayer at Mountain View Presbyterian Church. “There are many threads left hanging. It will take time to weave the threads back together."
Nick Brouchard, a student at a nearby school, Marysville-Gretchell High School, came to the vigil out of a feeling of powerlessness. “You never think it will happen to you or in your home,” he said. “I felt like I had to do something, because at first I couldn’t.”
Outside Marysville Pilchuck High School, well-wishers left balloons, flowers, stuffed animals and other tokens at a makeshift memorial on a chain-link fence. Some salvaged whatever bright spots they could.
"Our school and community, we’re all so much closer than we ever have been before,” said MPHS junior Madison White, 16. “It’s bringing everyone together."
Nate Hatch, 14, regained consciousness overnight but couldn’t speak because he is intubated, his family said. Harborview Medical Center said he was in intensive care and was improving Saturday. Andrew Fryberg, 15, remained in critical condition at the hospital.
Two teenage girls, Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both 14, were shot in the head and hospital officials said Saturday that "the next three days are going to be crucial." The name of the girl that was killed has not been released.
Police did not release a motive in the rampage, although students said Fryberg had recently been in a fight and law enforcement sources believe he may have been upset over a girl. Among the students in Marysville, there were plenty of rumors but no answers.
A student who witnessed the shooting told NBC News that Jaylen himself seemed surprised at the damage he’d wrought.
"I looked up and Jaylen, he was looking at us, but he didn’t look like him. He looked like different person" Alex Hatch, a distant cousin and friend of Jaylen’s, said. "He had a look on his face like he was just realizing what he did."
— Phil Helsel