The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

June 8, 2014

911 calls from Seattle campus shooting released

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.

"He went over and got shot," Purcell said, shortly after praying at the memorial on Friday. He had learned two hours earlier Lee was the man killed.

"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."

Wounded in the shooting were Sarah Williams, 19, who remained in intensive care Saturday, and Thomas Fowler, 24, who has been discharged.

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