Not even two full weeks after the murder of six University of California at Santa Barbara students, a man opened fire with a handgun in a building at Seattle Pacific University Thursday afternoon, killing one and injuring two others.
A police report said that a student monitor in the building may have saved lives by using pepper spray on the shooter as he tried to reload his weapon. Bystanders then joined this student and held the shooter down and took away his gun. The shooter had more ammunition and a knife with him.
College Leaders and Gun Control
--Lawrence Schall, president of Oglethorpe University, urges college presidents to consider their role in the gun control debate.
--Last year, after the tragic killings in Newtown, Connecticut, the Association of American Universities and College Presidents for Gun Safety issued letters calling for, among other things, gun control. While many presidents signed the letters, others declined to do so, prompting debate at some campuses.
Authorities identified the shooter as Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, who is now being held in jail. "So far, police have not found any connection between the suspect, Seattle Pacific University or any of the victims," said the police report.
The police report did not identify those who had been shot, but said that they were all in their 20s. Initial reports indicated that four people had been shot, but authorities said that one of the injured was not shot, but sustained minor injuries in the scuffle to detain Ybarra. There were also initial reports of a second gunman, but police said that they believed only Ybarra was responsible for what happened.
The shootings took place in Otto Miller Hall, which houses the departments of computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics at Seattle Pacific. The hall is shut down today.
Seattle Pacific went into lockdown as soon as reports of the shootings started to come in. Students received emails and text messages saying, "This is not a drill." The university has called off all classes today, and is providing extra counseling. One church service was held Thursday night and another is planned for today. The university is a Christian liberal arts institution.
The Seattle Times quoted a law enforcement source as saying of Ybarra: "He was hell-bent on killing a lot of people today." He wore a black, hooded sweatshirt, the Times said. The article describes a "wave of terror" across the campus as students and employees were told to go into lockdown.
As of this morning, the website of Seattle Pacific features a photograph of a gate on the campus. Beside the photograph are the words: "Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer."