SEATTLE -- On June 5, 2014, 27-year-old Aaron Ybarra of Mountlake Terrace opened fire at Seattle Pacific University, killing one person. Below is a timeline of events as they occurred.
Prior to June 4, 2014, Aaron Ybarra visits Seattle Pacific University campus and convinces two female students to give him a private tour of the school. While getting a tour of Otto Miller Hall, Ybarra says he looked for possible escape routes for students during a shooting. He claims he also met with a school employee.
June 4, 2014
• Ybarra drove past Otto Miller Hall around 3 p.m. to make sure students were using the building at that time.
June 5, 2014
• Ybarra arrived at SPU in a white pickup truck and parked on the street. He exited the truck with a Browning over-under shotgun, a large fixed blade hunting knife and additional live shotgun rounds.
• Ybarra approached Paul Lee on the SPU campus and showed him his gun. When Lee didn’t seem scared by the weapon Ybarra decided to shoot him. Police records show Lee was shot in the back of the head at close range. Pellets from the shotgun round also hit Thomas Fowler who was standing a few feet away. Police say Ybarra also tried to fire on a female nearby but his gun misfired and she had time to run away.
• Ybarra reloaded and continued inside Otto Miller Hall where he found Tristian Cooper-Roth seated at a table. According to police documents, he told Cooper-Roth “he had just shot a man outside for disrespecting him and not to move.” Cooper-Roth later told police he though Ybarra was going to kill him.
• Ybarra then saw Sarah Williams walk down the stairs of Otto Miller Hall. He shot at the female student, hitting her in the upper torso. He then saw Cooper-Roth start to run and attempted to shoot at him but his gun misfired.
• As Ybarra attempted to reload his gun he was pepper sprayed by a student security guard named Jon Meis. Meis tackled Ybarra to the ground and took his gun. Ybarra began fumbling for something in his waistband – it was a large hunting knife. Meis kicked the knife away from Ybarra and held him down.
• At 3:24 p.m., 911 dispatchers began to receive calls about a shooter on the SPU campus.
• At 3:29 p.m., Seattle Police Department officers arrived at Otto Miller Hall.
• At 3:31 p.m., victims began receiving aid as SPD cleared Otter Miller Hall.
• Lee, Cooper-Roth, Williams and Meis were all transported to Harborview Medical Center.
• Lee was pronounced dead on arrival at Harborview.
• Williams was in critical condition when he arrived at Harborview and was rushed into surgery.
• Fowler was in serious condition and treated at Harborview ER. He was kept overnight.
• Meis was treated for abrasions at Harborview and released.
• Ybarra was taken by police to SPD Homicide & Assault. He was read his Miranda rights and interviewed. Ybarra described his planning of the shooting including a journal that was found in his pickup truck. He said he had originally planned to carry out the shooting at Washington State University but it was too late in the school year to complete in time. He said he was inspired by Columbine and other school shootings. He described the incident at SPU, claiming he didn’t target specific students but he shot those he felt didn’t respect him. He also described to detectives his history being in therapy and the “hate” inside him.
June 6, 2014
• Aaron Ybarra appears in court. His lawyer claims he was in a delusional state during the shooting, and the system failed both him and the victims.
June 7, 2014
• Seattle Pacific University President Daniel Martin releases a statement reading in part: “… 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.”
• SPU releases a statement on Paul Lee who was killed: “He is described by professors as always positive, and with a great sense of wit. His sense of humor was contagious; he was outgoing and well loved by others. Paul was also known for his deep faith.”
March 25, 2015
• The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation selects Jon Meis as one of three 2015 Citizen Honors Program honorees.
Aaron Ybarra is set to begin trial September 2016.