UK & World News

  • 6 June 2014, 17:09

Seattle Campus Shooter Caught By Student

Police say a student disarmed a Seattle campus gunman as he paused to reload after shooting four people, one of them fatally.

The attacker, armed with shotgun and a knife, shot three students at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday afternoon.

A building monitor, 22-year-old Jon Meis, used pepper spray to tackle the suspect as he tried to insert more rounds into his shotgun.

Other students then helped subdue the attacker in the foyer of Otto Miller Hall until police arrived.

Mr Meis, who is being hailed as a hero, was not injured in the attack. A spokeswoman for the city's Harborview Medical Center, where he was briefly treated, said he was suffering from mental anguish.

The man detained by police has been named as 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, who was not a student at the university.

Several students were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

One, a 19-year-old man, died a short time later.

A 20-year-old woman who was seriously wounded is still in a critical condition after five hours of surgery.

Another man is in a "satisfactory" condition, while a fourth person has been released from hospital.

As so often after US mass shootings, the motive is unclear.

A former gym janitor, Ybarra had recently landed a new job at a store, packing bags and cleaning, a friend told the Seattle Times.

"It makes no sense at all," Zack McKinley told the newspaper. "He's super happy and friendly. He's an awesome guy, someone who would never let you down."

But KIRO TV cites unnamed police sources as saying that Ybarra was obsessed with the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and had even travelled to the site in Colorado.

Thursday's shooting came a week before the end of the academic year.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said: "Today should have been a day of celebration at the end of the school year. Instead it's a day of tragedy and of loss.

"Once again, the epidemic of gun violence has come to Seattle, the epidemic of gun violence that's haunting this nation."

People packed into the First Free Methodist Church on campus for a service in the aftermath of the shooting.

Dozens who could not get into the packed church gathered on a lawn nearby and formed their own groups as the sun set.

One student told a local television channel, KIRO 7 TV, that he heard a loud bang from a nearby classroom which his teacher initially thought was a science experiment.

The student, identified as Blake, said someone went out and came back and said: "I think someone's been shot."

"I was scared for about a minute," he said, adding he heard shouting and someone running past the door.

Then "cops come in through another classroom which was connected to ours and they escorted us out".

He added: "I just saw piles of blood on the ground, just scattered throughout the lobby.

"And I actually stepped in a puddle ... I saw someone was on the ground. Someone was on top of them, their hands behind their head."

Another student, Jillian Smith, was taking a maths test when a lockdown was ordered.

After being locked in the classroom for around 45 minutes, police officers came to lead them out of the building.

Ms Smith said that on the way out she saw bullet casings and what appeared to be blood on the lobby carpet.

"Seeing blood made it real," she said.

Around 4,000 students attend the Christian university, which is about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle.

Friday's classes and other activities have been cancelled.