Marysville school shooter memorialized alongside his victims

MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- The fence outside of Marysville-Pilchuck High School continues to be a place people are honoring the victims of Friday's shooting. That part was expected.

What caught some off-guard are the signs that now hang on that same fence in memory of the shooter.

Some say simply, "Rest In Peace Jaylen Fryberg". Other signs say, "We'll miss you Jaylen." A few displays feature his picture, side-by-side with the five students he shot at a cafeteria table.

"They were all friends, I understand. He seemed like a good kid, but I was a little taken back that his name was up here," said Alicia Berlin, who did not attend Marysville-Pilchuck, but lives nearby and wanted to drop off some flowers and pay her respects.

Experts who study school shootings say it is a bit unusual to see the shooter memorialized alongside the victims. In the case of Jaylen Fryberg they say the show of support illustrates he was a well-liked student.

"I think at this point, with this particular one, this really tells us who this young man was. That he was a very loved child. That he was a loved peer. That he had friends. That he really mattered. And that they mattered to him," said Cheri Lovre, who is the Director of the Crisis Management Institute.

She has worked with a number of schools, including Marysville, in the aftermath of school shootings. Lovre says she can also understand why some people might be offended by the signs in support of Fryberg, and says that's okay too.

"Absolutely," she said. "It's a long journey for them forward. When something this huge happens, who would we be if we turned away with no emotion? Anger is one of the really primary movers that allows us to do things and learn how to do things differently."

It's possible some people are taking the lead of shooting victim Nate Hatch, who tweeted from his hospital bed that he loves and forgives his cousin Jaylen.

"If he, as a victim, can forgive the kid, so can we," said Deborah Price, as she visited the fence outside the school. "It's your heart that it comes from."

A spokesperson for the school district said the fence memorial grew organically, into a spot to remember all of the students they lost last Friday. He said that, right now, there are no plans to change it or remove any items. The superintendent echoed that sentiment during a meeting on Tuesday evening in Marysville.


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