August 18 2019
12:23 AM
More Stories
Page width:
Homecoming Prince Identified as High School Shooting Suspect

by MEGHAN KENEALLY and MICHAEL S. JAMES MICHAEL S. JAMES More From Michael » MEGHAN KENEALLY More From Meghan » Digital Reporter Friday October 24, 2014    5:35 PM

A high school homecoming prince in Washington state calmly opened fire in the school cafeteria at lunchtime, killing one person and injuring at least four others before shooting himself to death, police and witnesses said.

Eyewitnesses and law enforcement sources identified the shooter as Jaylen Fryberg, a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School. Marysville Police Commander Robb Lamoureux earlier declined to publicly identify the sole suspect, only saying he was a male student at the school, about 40 miles north of Seattle.

Fryberg was on the football team and a video from this year's homecoming game showed him named the freshman class homecoming prince.

What We Know About the Washington State High School Shooting Suspect Images From the School Shooting Scene Brian Patrick, the father of a girl who said she was 10 feet from the gunman, told The Associated Press Fryberg shot his schoolmates in a calm, methodical way.

"The guy walked into the cafeteria, pulled out a gun and started shooting," he said of his daughter's account. "No arguing, no yelling."

Lamoureux said the deceased victim was a female, but he did not say whether she was a student or staff member.

In addition, four young people were transported to Providence Regional Medical Center, three with critical head wounds that required immediate surgery, according to hospital officials.

Those victims included two young women whose head injuries were so severe they were not immediately identifiable, said Dr. Joanne Roberts, the hospital's chief medical officer. Officials have been meeting with relatives and asking about birthmarks and descriptions of their children's clothing to help make a match. One of the young women remained in surgery hours after the shooting, while the other was moved to intensive care.

The hospital also received two young men, one a 15-year-old whose head wound required surgery. He and the other male patient, with less serious wounds, later were transferred to another hospital.

"I will tell you we will all go home tonight and cry," Roberts said.

Police Commander Lamoureux confirmed that the shooting originated in the cafeteria, but did not specify where the deceased were located.

Nathan Heckerdorf, a student at the school, told ABC News that he spoke to the suspected shooter before the first class of the day to see how he was doing because he allegedly got into a fight over racial slurs.

The suspect claimed to be alright, and Heckerdorf thought he seemed normal.

Heckerdorf spoke to ABC News by phone while he was waiting to be evacuated from a classroom that he ran into when he heard gunshots.

"We were told to get away from the windows," Heckerdorf told ABC News of what he and about 25 other students were doing inside the classroom.

He said the school splits lunch into two periods and the people in the cafeteria at the time of the first shooting would have been there because they had the earlier lunch.

He was headed to the cafeteria but ran away when he heard the gunshots. He said that someone pulled the fire alarm immediately afterwards, causing everyone to scatter.

"Everybody's still shaken up," Heckerdorf said. "Some people are crying. But, as of now, it's a pretty calm atmosphere."

Eyewitness Alyx Peitzsch told local ABC station KOMO that she was in the cafeteria when the shooting started and she heard four gunshots.

She estimated that there were perhaps 50 people in the cafeteria but she ran out of the room as soon as she heard the shots.

Peitzsch and many other students ran to a church near the school where her mother picked her up.

Police first heard reports of a shooting when someone on campus called 911 at around 10:40 a.m., Lamoureux said.

Police cleared the school's multiple buildings to ensure that the situation was stable and to look for injured students, Lamoureux said, before transitioning from a dynamic scene to an investigative scene. Several hours after the shooting, several students still were being questioned, he added.

The FBI had a SWAT team involved in the searches, and was supporting local authorities by providing additional victim specialists, who have extensive knowledge and experience in assisting victims, witnesses of crisis situations, and their families, an FBI spokeswoman in Seattle said.

President Obama was briefed on the shooting within hours of the incident.

Elisa Jaffe, whose 14-year-old son, Austin, was being held in a classroom while police finished a second sweep of the school campus, said that he used a friend's phone to call her to say he was alright.

"I won't feel he's safe until I actually get to touch him," Jaffe told KOMO.

"This is just one of those things -- it doesn't happen, it isn't real," she said. "It happens other places. I never imagined it would happen in this community. We will never feel the same."

Image Search:    |     Last 48 Hours     |     Last 30 Days     |     All Time

Story Search:    |     Last 48 Hours     |     Last 30 Days     |     All Time