This Thursday afternoon, June 5th, at about 3:20 p.m., a suspect, identified as Aaron Ybarra, wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt, armed with a shotgun and a knife, fired several rounds inside of an engineering building at Seattle Pacific University. The suspect killed a 20-year-old student at the university, and injured three others.
While the gunman was reloading his shotgun, before he could do more damage, a student security guard, identified as Jon Meis, fired pepper spray at the man, and was able to pin him down forcefully until the arrival of police. Police officials have noted that the suspect is not a student at the small Christian university.
The four victims were rushed to Harborview Medical Center. Upon arrival, a 20-year-old man died due to upper body wounds. A 20-year-old woman required surgery for wounds to the upper body and is in critical condition. Reports indicated a 24-year-old and 22-year-old man are in satisfactory condition, both suffering from minor injuries.
Upon the shooting, the small, 4000-student campus went into lockdown, where students and staff were hiding inside a library, gym, and other spots on campus. After hearing gunshots, students on campus were quick to turn off all the lights in classrooms and lock themselves inside.
Daniel J. Martin, University President, praised the students who spotted those injured and rushed to their aid, saying the noble students “…acted without regard for their own safety.”
A mother to a student at Seattle Pacific questions the safety at universities that lack gun regulation: “Where are the controls to keep our children from purchasing a handgun or any other kind of weapon? And does that take government controls to keep that from happening? I don’t know. There has to be a greater understanding of what that weapon can do and the pain it can inflict on another person’s life,” the woman tells CNN.
The university canceled classes Thursday night and Friday. They scheduled a prayer service at noon on Friday to help students cope with the tragedy.
But prayer, while comforting, does not seem to be cutting it. When will greater measures be taken to ensure these types of tragedies stop?