Two days after a fatal shooting at Seattle Pacific University, the school released its first official statement about the freshman who died, Paul Lee.
"Paul Lee, an SPU freshman, was 19 years old. He was from Portland, Oregon, where he graduated from Westview High School. The son of Peter and Mira Lee, Paul started as a student in September 2013, and lived in Ashton Hall on campus. Paul took a variety of courses while at SPU, and had not yet decided on a course of study," the statement read. "He is described by professors as always positive, and with a great wit. His sense of humor was contagious; he was outgoing and well loved by others. Paul was also known for his deep faith."
Saturday evening, yellow caution tape roped off Otto Miller Hall as it remains closed. Meanwhile, students continued to stop and stare.
“He trusted in the Lord, let him deliver him,” student Samuel Ernest read from his Bible. “When they cry to him, he hears them.”
A Junior at SPU, Ernest never knew any of the victims personally, but on a campus like SPU, Ernest says faith united strangers long before tragedy did the same.
“It’s a huge violation of the people that I love,” Ernest said. “Enough to break your heart.”
Saturday, SPU President Daniel Martin also released a statement.
“There has been an outpouring of love and support for SPU from Seattle, the nation, and the world. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to reach out to us; your love and support has helped sustain us during this difficult time,” it read.
The memorial of flowers, candles, and notes continues to grow on the corner of 3rd and Nickerson. Bible verses and notes to Lee sit beside wilted rose blooms.
“Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help,” Ernest read from the book of Psalms.
The shared faith on SPU’s campus may be why the community feels as though there are no strangers, that all are affected by the violence that gripped their campus on June 5 when a gunman shot three students, finally tackled by another student.
It’s that faith that brought Ernest out to pray two days later – faith and hope in things unseen, even if he can’t help but stare.
“We need each other and rely on each other in ways that I don’t even think we realize until moments like this, when someone you don’t even know becomes so necessary to you,” Ernest said. “The community here at SPU is just everything. It’s a wonderful place.”