SEATTLE (AP) –¬†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 him 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 additional rounds and a knife.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the suspect’s attorney said Friday her 26-year-old client has long had mental health problems. Public defender Ramona Brandes said Aaron R. Ybarra is sorry for what he did and 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,” she 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 Friday. He was treated at a hospital and released.
Roman Kukhotskiy, 22, who was in the building when the violence broke out, said: “I was amazed that he was willing to risk all that for us. If Jon didn’t stop him, what’s to say? I could have been the next victim.”
Kukhotskiy said he saw Meis immediately after the shooting, and he appeared shocked and visibly shaken. He said Meis is getting married this summer and has accepted a job with Boeing, where he has interned in previous years.
The leafy campus of the private, Christian university about 10 minutes north of downtown Seattle was quiet the morning after the shooting, with a service held at midday. People stopped by a makeshift memorial near Otto Miller Hall to pay their respects.
The gunman had just entered the science and engineering building when he opened fire in the foyer. Classes were taking place upstairs.
Ybarra was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of homicide. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in a jail courtroom Friday afternoon.
Ybarra had longstanding mental-health issues and has been treated and medicated in the past, his lawyer said. Brandes added she is seeking his treatment records and did not know his specific diagnosis.
Ybarra was hospitalized for mental health evaluations twice in recent years, said Pete Caw, assistant police chief in Ybarra’s hometown, the Seattle suburb of Mountlake Terrace.
Officers encountered Ybarra in 2010 and 2012. Both times, he