SEATTLE — A lone gunman was disarmed and held until police arrived after he killed one student and injured three others yesterday on the campus of a private Christian university in Seattle.
Aaron Ybarra, 26, was taken into custody on Thursday following the incident at 3:30 p.m. local time after he walked into the Otto Miller Building on the campus of Seattle Pacific University and began to open fire. Yabarra is not a student at the university, and a motive is not yet known.
According to a statement by police, the building monitor, Jon Meis, 26, quickly disarmed Ybarra as he began reloading, and other students held him until police arrived.
“The suspect fired several rounds from a shotgun and began reloading his weapon when a student building monitor heroically intervened. The monitor, a man in his 20s, pepper sprayed the suspect before tackling him to the ground,” the report outlined. “Several bystanders also seized upon the suspect—who was also carrying a knife and additional ammunition—and took his gun.”
Police state that Meis saved many students’ lives by his quick actions, considering that police found a significant amount of ammunition on Ybarra.
“He was hellbent on killing a lot of people today,” one unidentified law enforcement official told the Seattle Times.
Police arrived within minutes of the incident and an ambulance was also dispatched to the scene.
“Medics transported a man in his 20s with critical injuries to Harborview Medical Center, where he succumbed to his wounds,” the report stated. “Medics also transported a second woman in her 20s, also with critical injuries, a man in his 20s with pellet wounds to his neck and chest—he is currently in stable condition—and another man in his 20s with minor injuries sustained during the struggle with the suspect.”
Seattle Pacific University was founded in 1891 by the Oregon and Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church, which holds to biblical teaching in regard to marriage and is stated to be “firmly opposed to abortion.” The denominational headquarters of the Free Methodist Church has asked Christians across the country to pray for those affected by the shooting, as well as for the staff at the university.
“We are asking all members of the body of Christ to pray for the safety and healing of the entire Seattle Pacific University family. Pray for the victims and their families,” Bishop Matthew Thomas said in a statement.
“Please pray that God’s presence becomes palpable on campus and that SPU becomes a safe place in the future and known as a place of peace in the world,” he continued. “Pray for President Dan Martin and his administration that their next steps reflect justice, truth and grace. And pray that this kind of violence that plagues our nation ceases.”
An overflow prayer service was held at the First Free Methodist Church on campus last evening and grief counseling was made available to students overwhelmed by the tragedy. Classes have been canceled for today.
“We’re a community that relies on Jesus Christ for strength, and we’ll need that at this point in time,” Martin said.