SEATTLE – When a lone gunman armed with a shotgun at a small Seattle university stopped firing at students to reload, another student pepper-sprayed him and subdued him with the help of others and prevented more deaths, police said.
“There are a number of heroes in this,” Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said. “The people around (the gunman) stepped up.”
A 19-year-old man was fatally shot and two other young people were wounded after the gunman entered the foyer at Otto Miller Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus and started shooting Thursday afternoon.
When he paused to reload, a student building monitor disarmed him. The gunman had additional rounds and a knife, McDonagh said.
“But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic,” he said.
The man in custody was not a student at the school, McDonagh told a news conference.
Four people, including the young man who died, were taken to Harborview Medical Center. A critically wounded 20-year-old woman remained in intensive care Friday, according to the hospital. A 24-year-old man was in satisfactory condition. A 22-year-old man injured in the struggled with the suspect was treated and released, officials said.
None of the victims was immediately identified.
Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, was booked into the King County Jail late Thursday in connection with an investigation of homicide, according to police and the jail roster.
Also late Thursday, police who said they were serving a warrant entered a house believed tied to Ybarra. A phone message left at that house in the north Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace was not immediately returned.
Messages left with friends and relatives of Ybarra via social media were not immediately returned.
The Seattle Times reported that the suspect’s father, Ambrose Ybarra, said he didn’t know anything about the shooting.
“We just hope he’s safe,” he told the newspaper. “It’s upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We’re in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm.”
The paper said Zack McKinley described himself as one of Ybarra’s closest friends and said he was “super happy and friendly.”
McKinley said the attack was puzzling because Ybarra was happy to have just started a job bagging groceries at a store. Ybarra could get emotionally low, but McKinley said he had a good group of friends and never saw him depressed.
The school’s 40-acre campus is in a leafy residential neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle.
The gun violence follows a spate of recent shootings on or near college campuses.
Last month, Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured seven before turning his gun on himself in a rampage in Isla Vista, California, near two universities, according to police.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, noting previous mass shootings in the city, said: “Once again the epidemic of gun violence has come to Seattle.”
Donna Gordon Blankinship of the Associated Press in Seattle and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington, contributed to this report.