Shooter paused, student acted fast

Jon Meis, who is credited with preventing further carnage, was taken from the shooting scene by medics at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday.


Jon Meis, who is credited with preventing further carnage, was taken from the shooting scene by medics at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday.

SEATTLE — The man blasting away with a shotgun paused to reload, and Jon Meis saw his chance.

The 22-year-old building monitor pepper-sprayed and tackled the gunman Thursday in Seattle Pacific University’s Otto Miller Hall, likely preventing further carnage, according to police and university officials.


Meis and other students subdued him until officers arrived and handcuffed him.

Police said the shooter, who killed a 19-year-old man and wounded two other young people, had additional rounds and a knife.

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‘‘I’m proud of the selfless actions that my roommate, Jon Meis, showed today taking down the shooter,’’ student Matt Garcia wrote on Twitter. ‘‘He is a hero.’’

Meanwhile, the suspect’s attorney said Friday that her 26-year-old client has long had mental health problems. Public defender Ramona Brandes said Aaron R. Ybarra is sorry for what he did and is on suicide watch at the jail.

‘‘He is cognizant of the suffering of the victims and their families and the entire Seattle Pacific community,’’ she said. ‘‘He is sorry.’’


Meis, a dean’s list electrical engineering student, was emotionally anguished but not injured in the shooting, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Friday. He was treated at a hospital and released.

Roman Kukhotskiy, 22, who was in the building when the violence broke out, said: ‘‘I was amazed that he was willing to risk all that for us. If Jon didn’t stop him, what’s to say? I could have been the next victim.’’

Kukhotskiy said he saw Meis immediately after the shooting, and he appeared shocked and visibly shaken.

Ybarra was hospitalized for mental health evaluations twice in recent years, said Pete Caw, assistant police chief in Ybarra’s hometown, the Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace.

‘‘We are so very shocked and sad over yesterday’s shootings at SPU,’’ Ybarra’s family said in a statement. ‘‘We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people. To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you.’’

Ybarra is not a student at the school, police said.

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