'Selfless' Student Disarmed Seattle Gunman

Jon Meis hailed as hero; university shooter identified as Aaron Ybarra, 26

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 6, 2014 3:04 AM CDT | Updated Jun 6, 2014 7:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – A gunman "hellbent on killing a lot of people" at Seattle Pacific University was stopped thanks to a student's bravery, police say. As the gunman—who shot one person dead and wounded others in a university building—paused to reload his shotgun, he was pepper-sprayed by Jon Meis, a student working as a building monitor, police say. Meis put the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, in a chokehold as other students and faculty members rushed to help hold him down. Ybarra has been booked on murder charges and police say he was carrying a knife and more shotgun shells. Meis is being hailed as a soft-spoken hero, but "we're not really talking to anyone right now," his sister tells the Seattle Times. “It doesn’t surprise me that he would step in to do something like that," adds a classmate. "He’s a selfless guy.”

As for Ybarra, he was not a student at the small, Christian university and his family and friends are mystified by the rampage. "It makes no sense at all," says a man who described himself as one of Ybarra's closest friends. "He’s super happy and friendly. He’s an awesome guy, someone who would never let you down." He says his friend didn't drink or do drugs and had recently gotten a new job bagging groceries. After the shooting, scores of students and staff members gathered in the center of campus to pray, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. "Remember he is loved and a son," said one freshman offering prayers for the gunman. "He is a brother of ours. Remember he is a son and that he is so loved." A 20-year-old female remains in critical condition, while two male students suffered lesser injuries. One wasn't shot but was instead injured in the struggle to subdue the gunman.

Students from Seattle Pacific University gather outside in a prayer circle yesterday.
Students from Seattle Pacific University gather outside in a prayer circle yesterday.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Students from Seattle Pacific University gather outside in a prayer circle after a nearby church service was full after yesterday's shooting.
Students from Seattle Pacific University gather outside in a prayer circle after a nearby church service was full after yesterday's shooting.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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