SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

June 7, 2014

Seattle student pepper-sprayed, tackled gunman

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 the gunman until officers arrived and handcuffed him moments later.

Police said the shooter, who killed a 19-year-old man and wounded two other young people, had 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife.

He told authorities 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 in court yesterday.

Friends credited Meis with saving lives.

“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 on suicide watch at the jail.

“He is cognizant of the suffering of the victims and their families and the entire Seattle Pacific community,” Brandes 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 yesterday. He was treated there and released.

Roman Kukhotskiy, 22, was in the building when the violence broke out. He said Meis is getting married this summer and has accepted a job with Boeing, where he has interned in previous years.

“I was amazed that he was willing to risk all that for us,” Kukhotskiy said. “If Jon didn’t stop him, what’s to say? I could have been the next victim.”

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