Police: 2 dead, including gunman, in school attack
MARYSVILLE, Washington (AP) — A student walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria on Friday and opened fire without shouting or arguing, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
Students said the gunman, identified as student Jaylen Fryberg, was staring at students as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. As other students heard the gunshots, they ran out of the cafeteria and building in a chaotic dash to safety while others were told to stay put inside classrooms.
The shooter was a student at the school north of Seattle, but Marysville Police Commander Robb Lamoureux said he could not provide more information on the gunman or his motive. Lamoureux said the shooter died of a self-inflicted wound.
Three of the people who were shot had head wounds and were in critical condition. Two young women were taken to Providence Everett Medical Center, and a 15-year-old boy was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, hospital officials said.
Another victim, a 14-year-old boy, was listed in serious condition at Harborview as well, the hospital said.
Many students described Fryberg as a happy, popular student, but social media accounts suggested he was struggling with an unidentified problem.
On Wednesday, a posting on his Twitter account read: “It won’t last ... It’ll never last.” On Monday, another tweet said: “I should have listened. ... You were right ... The whole time you were right.”
Witnesses described the gunman as methodical in the cafeteria.
Brian Patrick said his daughter, a freshman, was 10 feet (3 meters) from the gunman when the shooting occurred. She ran from the cafeteria and immediately called her mother.
Patrick said his daughter told him, “The guy walked into the cafeteria, pulled out a gun and started shooting. No arguing, no yelling.”
Student Alan Perez was eating his lunch at a nearby table when he heard the gunshots.
“He had a little gun in his hand. I saw the flash from the muzzle,” he told KING-TV.
Another student, Austin Taylor, told the station the shooter “was just staring down every one of his victims as he shot them.”
Senior Jayden Eugenio, 17, was in the library when a fire alarm went off. Someone came on the intercom and said shots had been fired and students should stay inside.
“I was shaking, you would never believe this would happen in your school,” he said.
Outside the school, students started streaming out of the building, with some trying to jump a fence to get away, witnesses said.
Cedar Parker, a 17-year-old senior, said he was driving away from campus when the shooting happened. He let several students into his car as he heard others yelling for their friends: “Where are you?”
A crowd of parents waited in a parking lot outside a nearby church where they were being reunited with their children. Buses pulled up periodically to drop off students evacuated from the school, with some running to hug their mothers or fathers.
Patrick said after the shooting, his other daughter, a senior at the school, called him “hysterical” from her classroom.
“I thought, ’God let my kids be safe,” he said.
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said the agency was assisting local law enforcement and providing specialists to work with victims and their families.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has many students from the Tulalip Indian tribe. State Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member, said the shooting had devastated the community.
“We’re all related in one shape or form. We live and work and play together,” he said.
Another shooting occurred June 5 in the metro area at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others.
Associated Press photographer Ted Warren contributed to this report from Marysville, and AP writer Gene Johnson from Seattle.