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A teacher on the job for only a couple of months played a large part in stopping the student gunman at a Washington state high school on Friday, witnesses and officials said. Megan Silberberger, a first-year social studies teacher, stepped in to halt shooter Jaylen Ray Fryberg from wounding or killing more victims when he opened fired in the Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria, said Randy Davis, the president of the Marysville Education Association. Four students were severely injured, and one was killed before Fryberg died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
Erick Cervantes, a student who witnessed the violence, said a teacher came through the cafeteria door and tried to swat the gun away from Fryberg before he aimed it at her. "She moved his hand, the weapon, and he shot himself," Cervantes said.
Davis said Silberberger is, to his knowledge, the only staff member who had contact with Fryberg during the shooting. Police reports said a cafeteria worker, not a teacher, intercepted the shooter — but Davis said police likely got the information from a student who didn't recognize Silberberger "because she is so new."
Davis said he spoke with Silberberger by phone on Saturday morning and she expressed she is doing her best to "cope." Silberberger was requesting privacy, according to a tweet from the Marysville School District. "I am thankful and grateful for the support from everyone," Silberberger said in the tweet.
"We’re just trying to deal with it and cope with" the deadly shooting, Davis said.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt and Sofia Jaramillo