Seattle Pacific shooting: Student stopped gunman with pepper spray

A student jumped into action when a gunman opened fire at Seattle Pacific University, helping to subdue the suspect.
A student building monitor jumped into action when a gunman opened fire at Seattle Pacific University, helping to subdue the suspect and prevent more deaths.

Police say 26-year-old Aaron R. Ybarra entered the foyer at Otto Miller Hall and shot three people. When he paused to reload his shotgun, a student building monitor disarmed him with pepper spray. Several other people jumped on top of the man and pinned him down until officers arrived.

"There are a number of heroes in this," Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said. "The people around (the gunman) stepped up."

Ybarra had additional rounds and a knife, police said.

"But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic," McDonagh said.

Ybarra, who was booked into King County Jail, was not a student at the school.

Four people were taken to Harborview Medical Center, where a 19-year-old man died. A critically wounded 20-year-old woman remained in intensive care Friday, according to the hospital. A 24-year-old man was in satisfactory condition. A 22-year-old man injured in the struggle with the suspect was treated and released, officials said.

Late Thursday night, police served a warrant at the house of the suspect's parents, according to ABC News.

The suspect's father, Ambrose Ybarra, told the Seattle Times he did not know anything about the shooting.

"We just hope he's safe," he told the newspaper. "It's upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We're in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm."

The shooting came a week before the end of the school year. A motive for the shooting has not yet been determined. Police believe the suspect acted alone.

Hours after the shooting, students gathered at the First Free Methodist Church on campus to pray. So many people crowded into the building that dozens sat on a lawn near the church and formed their own groups as the sun set.



The private Christian university canceled classes Friday and planned to hold a service of "prayer, lament and worship" at noon.

"We're a community that relies on Jesus Christ for strength," said Daniel Martin, university president. "We'll need that at this point in time."

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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