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Seattle Campus Hero Identified as Teaching Assistant Jon Meis

Friday, June 06, 2014
The Seattle campus hero who overpowered a gunman as he tried to reload his shotgun was identified today as Jon Meis, a teaching assistant at the school who was doubling as a security desk monitor.

Meis, 22, used pepper spray to subdue accused gunman Aaron R. Ybarra after Ybarra allegedly shot several students at Seattle Pacific University Thursday and was reloading his weapon, officials told ABC News affiliate KOMO.

Several other people jumped on top of the gunman 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."

One person died and three others - including Meis - were taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said today that Meis was released and was unharmed but said, "Obviously he's undergoing mental anguish."

"There were no visible injuries. It was, I think, coming to grips with what happened, the trauma of seeing what happened to his fellow students," Gregg said.

A male, 19, died from the shooting attack. A female student, 19, was listed in critical but stable condition with shotgun pellets in her chest and abdomen. A male student, 24, had pellets in his neck and chin, but could be released this weekend, she said.

Ybarra, 26, is being held without bail in King County Jail on homicide charges, according to jail records.

Student Disarmed University Gunman; 1 Killed, 3 Injured

At an earlier news conference, McDonagh said the man in custody was not a student at the school.

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.

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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