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Members of the Tulalip Tribes have been threatened after a Washington state high school freshman who was a member of the American Indian nation shot five friends in the school cafeteria last week, killing two of them in addition to himself, the tribe said Wednesday.
"Many of our kids are fearful to return to school, and some parents are reluctant to send them," the tribes said in a statement, which stressed that "the Tulalip Tribes denounce the horrific actions of Jaylen Fryberg." Two of the students freshman Fryberg shot Friday at Marysville Pilchuck High School were his cousins and fellow members of the tribes.
A spokeswoman for the tribes said a threat was made on Twitter against Heritage High School, which is predominantley Native American and sits on the tribe's reservation. It was found to be unsubstantiated, Francesca Hillery, a public information officer for the Tulalip Tribes, said.
"But what it did do is caused a lot of students and parents to be scared and concerned," she said. She didn't know the nature of the threatening tweet.
The Tulalip Tribes, which are based on a 22,000-acre reservation west of Marysville, are a prominent part of the community in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, but the shooting has posed "a test of the unity and partnership between the Tulalip and Marysville communities," the tribes said.
"Schools in the Marysville School District have received threats. While some have been directed at Native children, we are concerned for the safety of all of the children," the tribal statement said.
While "these were the acts of an individual, not a family, not a tribe," the tribes said the Tulalip community is "supporting the family of Jaylen Fryberg in their time of loss [because] it is our custom to come together in times of grief."
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— M. Alex Johnson