Related topics

Washington school shooter remembered with victims

October 28, 2014

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — Among the balloons and flowers tied to the chain-link fence outside Marysville-Pilchuck High School are tributes to Jaylen Fryberg, the popular 15-year-old freshman who texted five friends to invite them to lunch Friday and then gunned them down.

Two girls died in the attack, and three other students — including two of Fryberg’s cousins — were gravely wounded. Fryberg died after shooting himself.

While families or friends of shooting victims sometimes express sympathy or forgiveness for the perpetrators, the notion of a mass shooter being memorialized alongside his victims is unusual, experts say. It speaks to the unique grief this community is feeling, even in a nation where such horrors are becoming ever more common.

“Usually there’s so much anger and frustration and bewilderment in the aftermath, and generally the shooter is not someone who was this loved over time,” said Carolyn Reinach Wolf, a mental health attorney who studies mass shootings. “This is a very different response. Some of that is a credit to the community: People are able to get past the grief of the victims and see that the shooter’s family is grieving and horrified just as much.”

Fryberg was a member of a prominent Tulalip Indian Tribes family. He seemed happy, although he was also upset about a girl, friends said. His Twitter feed was recently full of vague, anguished postings, such as “It won’t last ... It’ll never last,” and “I should have listened. ... You were right ... The whole time you were right.”

On Friday, he pulled out a handgun in the cafeteria and started shooting. The victims were Zoe R. Galasso, 14, who died at the scene; Gia Soriano, 14, who died at a hospital Sunday night; Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, who is in critical condition; and his cousins, Nate Hatch, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15.

Andrew Fryberg also remained in critical condition. Hatch, who was shot in the jaw, is the only victim who has shown improvement. He was upgraded to satisfactory condition Monday in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he posted a message of forgiveness on Twitter.

The medical examiner on Monday ruled Fryberg’s death a suicide. There had been some question over whether he might have shot himself accidentally as a teacher tried to intervene, but Sheriff Ty Trenary said there was no physical contact between the teacher and the gunman.

At the memorial outside the school Monday, a group of mourners hugged each other tightly at 10:39 a.m. — the minute the shooting was reported Friday. Flowers and signs were zip-tied to a chain-link fence lined with red and white balloons, reflecting the school’s colors. Many referenced the victims and said they would be missed.

“Jaylen where do I begin, you were my brother my best friend love you bro,” read one message scrawled on a balloon.

“Jaylen, I will never forget you and your beautiful smile,” read another.

Rows of plastic cups covered candles for each of the students — Fryberg included.


Johnson reported from Seattle and can be reached at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

Update hourly