The Norman Transcript

June 7, 2014

Seattle student pepper-sprayed, tackled gunman

By Gene Johnson and Phuong Le
The Associated Press

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 moments later.

Police said the shooter, who killed Paul Lee, 19, and wounded two other young people, had 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife. He admitted 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 Friday.

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

The suspect, 26-year-old Aaron R. Ybarra, has a long history of mental health problems for which he had been treated and medicated, said his attorney, public defender Ramona Brandes.

“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 there 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.”

He said Meis is getting married this summer and has accepted a job with Boeing, where he has interned in previous years.

The leafy campus of the private, Christian university about 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle was quiet the morning after the shooting, with a service held at midday. People stopped by a makeshift memorial near Otto Miller Hall to pay their respects.

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