A student building monitor disarmed a gunman at Seattle Pacific University Thursday, subduing him with pepper spray as he tried to reload, police said, helping to end an attack that left one student dead and three others injured.
Several other people jumped on top of the man and pinned him down until officers arrived, police said.
"There are a number of heroes in this," Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said at a press conference. "The people around him (the gunman) stepped up."
Authorities have identified the suspected gunman as Aaron R. Ybarra, 26. Ybarra is being held without bail in King County Jail on homicide charges, according to jail records.
At an earlier news conference, McDonagh said the man in custody was not a student at the school.
A 19-year-old man died at Harborview Medical Center in the incident. Three other people were also taken to the hospital. A critically wounded 20-year-old woman was in intensive care late Thursday night after about five hours in surgery, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. A 24-year-old man was hospitalized in satisfactory condition. A Seattle Fire Department official said the man suffered "pellet type wounds" to his neck and chest.
A 22-year-old man was treated and released, Gregg said. Police said he suffered minor injuries during the struggle with the suspect.
None of the victims was immediately identified.
The afternoon shooting came a week before the end of the school year, and the situation was particularly tense when police initially reported that they were searching for a second suspect.
"It appears the suspect acted alone," McDonagh said. Initially, "there was a report of another person with a weapon, but (investigators) have not confirmed that."
Following the shooting, SWAT officers raced to the scene. The university locked down its campus for several hours, and it alerted students and staff to stay inside. Some students were taking finals in the same building that the shooter entered.
Multiple shots were fired, and the gunman had additional rounds, McDonagh said. Authorities said they still aren’t sure of the gunman’s motive or intended target.
“But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic," he said.
Following the shooting, students prayed, turning to their faith for perspective. A service was held at First Free Methodist Church. Candles flickered as the parishioners sang.
So many people crowded into the building that dozens of people gathered on a lawn near the church and formed their own groups as the sun set.
More than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend the private Christian university. Its 40-acre campus is in a leafy residential neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle. The school canceled classes and other activities Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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