Prosecutor: SPU shooting suspect considered other Washington schools



SEATTLE - Quick Facts:

  • Shooting suspect is 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra
  • Ybarra is charged with 1st-degree murder, 2 counts of attempted murder, 1 count of assault
  • Ybarra accused of killing 1 person, injuring 3 others
  • All charges have firearms enhancements
  • Prosecutors say suspect's journal showed he idolized school shooters
  • Ybarra had considered other colleges for shooting plot
  • Click here to read charging documents against SPU suspect Aaron Ybarra.

The accused gunman in the Seattle Pacific University shootings has been charged with first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of assault.

All of the charges have weapons enhancements.

Police say Aaron Ybarra., 26,  terrorized the campus after he shot and killed one student and injured three more.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg announced the charges against Ybarra at a news conference Tuesday. Click here to read charging documents against SPU suspect Aaron Ybarra.

Satterberg said Ybarra kept a journal that idolized the killers in the mass shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech. 

Investigators said in the week prior to the shootings, Ybarra visited the SPU campus, where he was shown around by students.  When he learned that classes would be coming to a close, he hurried to finalize his plans, Satterberg said.

He also visited the campus the day before the shooting to ensure it would be full of students, prosecutors said.

Satterberg said the final entry in Ybarra’s journal showed his excitement to carry out his plan to kill.

"I just want people to die and I will die with them,” it said, according to prosecutors.

According to Ybarra's journal, he also considered carrying out the shooting at Washington State University, Central Washington University or Eastern Washington University, but chose SPU, possibly because it was close, Satterberg said.

During the prosecutor’s news conference, Satterberg said that  one barrel of Ybarra’s shotgun had malfunctioned when he pointed it at female student, who was not injured.

Satterberg said Ybarra had about 50 additional rounds he could have fired.

It was that malfunction that allowed student John Meis to take down Ybarra, who was pepper-sprayed and tackled by Meis, Satterberg said.

"The shooter did not count on the courage of John Meis," said Satterberg.

Satterberg said Meis disarmed Ybarra twice, first hiding Ybarra’s shotgun and then returning to take away a knife.

It was less than a minute from when the first shots were fired to the suspect being disarmed by Meis, investigators said.

The standard sentencing range for the crimes is 69 to 86 years in prison.  But Satterberg said if Ybarra is convicted, prosecutors would ask for an exceptional sentence of life in prison.

Ybarra appeared in a suicide vest during his first court appearance on Friday.

Records from Mountlake Terrace, where Ybarra lives, show he was involuntarily committed twice because he was suicidal.

Despite his mental health issues, Satterberg said he was confident that Ybarra would be held criminally responsible.

Satterberg said Ybarra had stopped taking his mental health medications six months before the shooting because "he wanted to feel the hate," Ybarra wrote in his journal.

A friend of Ybarra says he tried to get him help.

"He seemed a little bit on the crazy side, but he needed somebody to reel him back.  But never in my wildest dreams (did I think he) would he ever be violent,” said Jason Wells.

Ybarra's journal was found inside his truck that was parked near the SPU campus.

Read first day coverage of the SPU shootings.

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