911 calls from Seattle campus shooting released
One student talks to 911 operators while a classmate attempts to tend to his bleeding neck and chest
By Manuel Valdes
SEATTLE — One student talks to 911 operators while a classmate attempts to tend to his bleeding neck and chest. Two other callers after witnessing the shooting at a small Seattle university calmly describe their location, the shooter and the chilling scene.
"He walked up behind this guy," the caller said, adding moments later: "There were two people standing there. And this guy walked up behind one of them, lifted his rifle and shot directly."
A day after a lone gunman armed with a shotgun opened fire at Seattle Pacific University, Seattle police released three 911 calls recorded shortly after the shooting. The calls reflect a mix of shock, calmness and swift action by students, witnesses and faculty.
The 911 calls show "the remarkable calm and resourcefulness of students, faculty, and other witnesses," police wrote.
Police said the shooter, who killed a 19-year-old freshman student and wounded two other young people, had 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife. He said after his arrest that he wanted to kill as many people as possible before taking his own life, Seattle police wrote in a statement filed in court Friday.
The suspect, Aaron Ybarra, 26, was ordered held without bail on Friday. He was arrested at the scene after a student tackled him when he was reloading his shotgun, police said.
In one of the recordings, a student calls 911 after his classmate runs into a classroom bleeding from the neck. Operators then talk to the wounded student in an attempt to get a description of the suspect.
"There's someone shot. I was hit with shrapnel," the student said. "Looks like birdshot according to the person that is patching me up."
"Someone was hit directly... and immediately fell," he adds.
After the student who died was identified as Paul Lee from Portland, Oregon, students began mourning their classmate, leaving notes, posting a picture and praying at a makeshift flower memorial near Otto Miller hall, where the shooting happened.
Lee's friend and classmate Ben Purcell said he was supposed to meet Lee to study on the hour the shooting happened, but was running late. Lee went ahead to Otto Miller without Purcell.
"Paul cared about God and people in a special way. And that's what I want to do too," Purcell said.
Purcell also left a note on the memorial. It said in part: "I wish we had gotten together earlier to study, because then you wouldn't have been shot."
The school issued a statement Saturday, saying Lee "is described by professors as always positive, and with a great wit. His sense of humor was contagious; he was outgoing and well loved by others. Paul was also known for his deep faith."
A fundraiser has also been launched to cover the funeral costs of Lee.
Seattle Pacific University alumnus Michael Hasegawa-Yun started the page on GiveForward.com and quickly surpassed the original $5,000 goal. The site had raised more than $6,000 by Saturday afternoon. He says he'll expand the fundraising to also financially help the student who remains in the hospital.
"I just felt like I wanted to help out," Hasegawa-Yun said, adding that he hasn't had direct contact with Lee's family yet, but one of his friends does. "I just figured they wanted their privacy."
Wounded in the shooting were Sarah Williams, 19, who remained in intensive care Saturday, and Thomas Fowler, 24, who has been discharged.
"The Seattle Pacific University community has endured a senseless act of violence resulting in the death of one of our precious students and the injury of two others," school President Daniel J. Martin said in a statement released Saturday. "Our students' well-being has been and always will be our first concern. We have surrounded them with caring Residence Life staff members, faculty, grief counselors, campus ministers, and local pastors."
Meanwhile, thousands of dollars are being donated to honor the student credited with thwarting the shooting.
Jon Meis and other students stopped the gunman. Meis has been credited with pepper-spraying and pinning the gunman while he was reloading his shotgun in the lobby of the building where the shooting happened.
Soon after Meis was identified, praise began to pour out on social media sites. Someone found Meis' wedding registry, and people quickly bought out most of the wish list.
That's when ESPN sports radio producer Jessamyn McIntyre got the idea to begin a GoFundMe site for Meis and his fiancee's honeymoon and future. The site quickly went viral.
According to the page's statistics, over $26,000 from more than 830 donations has been raised as of Saturday afternoon — tallies that are expected to increase.
McIntyre said she hasn't had direct contact with the Meis family, who has asked for privacy. But she has left them her contact information. She also contacted university officials. She will leave the fundraising page up for a week, unless the family asks her to take it down.
On the donations page, people continue praising Meis. One person posted, "Only one word needed: Inspiring," to go with a $20 donation.
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