SEATTLE — New video footage has been released of a deadly campus shooting at Seattle Pacific University two years ago.
The surveillance video shows the armed gunman, Aaron Ybarra, entering the school’s Otto Miller Hall building on June 5, 2014. Ybarra had already wounded two students by the time he walked into the hall, and can be seen pacing back and forth in the lobby, talking to another student sitting near the entrance. The student sitting down didn’t seem to realize the gun is real.
Moments later, another student, Sarah Williams, can be seen walking down the stairs. She appears to calmly walk toward the gunman, who then takes aim at her and fires his shotgun. Shocked, the other students in the room quickly get up and run away as Ybarra reloads his shotgun.
In those few key seconds, student safety monitor Jon Meis makes his move and courageously attacks the gunman with pepper spray, taking him to the ground. The two struggle until Meis is able to wrestle the shotgun out of the attacker’s hands. After prying the firearm away, he quickly takes it to a backroom and stores it. As he’s out of the room, the dazed Ybarra pulls out a knife, supposedly with the intent to kill himself.
Meis comes back into the picture and manages to get the blade out of Ybarra’s hands. He then holds him in a tight headlock until he can get assistance. A few seconds later, another student rushes down the staircase to lend a hand. He goes toward Meis, and then kicks the knife out of the attacker’s reach. The two students keep Ybarra from moving until police arrive to arrest him.
21 angles of security camera footage were being withheld by the King County Prosecutor’s Office, but several media outlets fought to have them released under the state’s Public Records Act. The university and students involved had hoped the videos would not be released, not wanting the community to relive the trauma stemming from the incident.
28-year-old Aaron Ybarra is set to go on trial in September, facing charges of premeditated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault. He reportedly had a history of mental illness and told police he had stopped taking his medications.