Marysville School Shooter Jaylen Fryberg Loved His Guns, His Chilling Instagram Suggests
On Friday morning, a 15-year-old boy walked into a school in Washington State and opened fire, injuring four and killing a girl before turning the gun on himself. No one knows quite why the Marysville-Pilchuck gunman, Jaylen Fryberg, shot his classmates, or whether he was aiming at one person in particular. What we do know? He was, as they always are, one unhappy kid.
The entire, chaotic scene was over within minutes. According to various eyewitness accounts, this is how it went down: just after 10:30 a.m., Fryberg stood up and walked over to a table in the school's cafeteria. Then he reached into a pocket, pulled out a gun and shot his fellow students at close range, right in the backs of their heads. By 10:39, the police had been alerted to the shooting thanks to an anonymous phone call and by 10:43, the shooter, they said, was down. He'd died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
For one fellow student, a teenage girl, Fryberg's shots were fatal. Another two girls and two boys — identified as the shooter's cousins, Andrew Fryberg and Nate Hatch — remain in critical condition. The school was on lockdown for hours, and will be closed for the next week.
As always in these cases, much remains unanswered. From the outside, Fryberg seems like an unlikely gunman: popular, athletic, recently voted homecoming prince. There are reports that he got into a fight the week before, but nothing to suggest that he was consistently bullied. It's not clear whether those he shot were random, or targeted: according to witness Jordan Luton, quoted by CNN, “they were his friends.” Said Luton to CNN:
I have no idea what his motive was because yesterday at football practice, he was all fine, talking .... having a good time. And then today, just horrible. I don't know what went through his head or what caused him to do it.
His cousin, Heaven Arbuckle, told The Telegraph that it was over a girl he'd recently broken up with. “He was heartbroken and didn’t know what to do. Jaylen wasn’t a bad kid, he just made a mistake,” Arbuckle said. This is backed up by various Tweets sent from an account under Fryden's name, including one that says: "Dude. She tells me everything. And now. I fucking HATE you! Your no longer my "Brother"!😤😤😤"
All this remains speculation until police conclude their investigation, however. Regardless, two things have become clear from Fryberg's social media accounts. The first? He was angry, publicly so. The second was that he loved his guns. One image of him on Instagram — now-deleted — shows him holding a rifle, with a the caption:“Probably the best BirthDay present ever! I just love my parents!!!” Another shows him posing with a firearm, writing: "My new 17HMR!!!! Love it!"
This is the second shooting to take place in Seattle in the last year: in June, a gunman killed one and injured two at Seattle Pacific University.
Image: Jaylen Fryberg via Instagram/Screengrab