Seattle Shooting Hero Jon Meis Pepper-Sprayed The Gunman, Stopping Him
Out of the Seattle tragedy comes a story of heroism: A brave student at Seattle Pacific University named Jon Meis stopped a gunman with pepper spray, helping to end a shooting rampage that killed one person and injured three others Thursday. According to the Seattle Police Department, a student security guard tackled the gunman — the suspect was identified by police as 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra — as he was reloading his shotgun in the lobby of Otto Miller Hall. The building monitor sprayed him with mace, effectively disarming the suspect. Other Seattle Pacific students joined in, subduing the shooter until the authorities arrived.
The campus hero has been identified as 22-year-old Meis, a senior majoring in engineering who regularly volunteers at the security desk. Meis was on duty Thursday afternoon when the gunman entered Otto Miller Hall and opened fire. "He's got a fiancé," an SPU student told ABC News. "He had a lot to live for and he just acted quick."
A reporter for The Seattle Times said an eyewitness saw Meis grab the neck of the gunman and wrestle him to the ground. Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh added in a press conference that many heroes emerged in this tragedy. "If we’re gonna find any good light in this, it's that the people around [the gunman] stepped up," he said.
Although Seattle police initially reported there were two suspects, authorities say the shooter acted alone. Seattle police Capt. Chris Fowler told The Seattle Times that the suspect entered Otto Miller Hall around 3:30 p.m. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans. His friend Zack McKinley told the newspaper that Ybarra, the suspected shooter, had just got a new job and seemed happy. "It makes no sense at all," McKinley said.
Ybarra was booked at King County Jail Thursday night, according to the Seattle PD Twitter feed. The authorities confirmed that two male victims are currently in stable condition. A female victim endured life-threatening injuries and underwent five hours of surgery Thursday, a hospital spokesperson told The Los Angeles Times. The names of the victims have yet to be released.
Seattle Pacific University is a private Christian college located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. In fall 2013, the university had 4,270 enrolled students, most of whom were undergraduates. The university canceled Friday classes, and will hold a prayer service for students and faculty. A vigil was also held Thursday night.