Seattle Pacific University Shooter Wanted To Kill As Many As Possible, Police Say

The man suspected of killing one person and injuring three others at Seattle Pacific University Thursday confessed to police he hoped to kill others, and himself.

Updated — June 6, 6:30 p.m. ET

Police say the 26-year-old suspect in the shooting at Seattle Pacific University wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself.

Shooting suspect Aaron Ybarra at a court hearing on Friday. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The suspect, Aaron Ybarra, was held without bail on Friday, a day after he allegedly killed a student and wounded three others during the shooting. After being arrested, Ybarra admitted to detectives that he wanted to kill as many people as possible and then himself, police said in a statement filed in court. He is being held at King County Jail where he is on suicide watch.

Ybarra had a “fascination with mass shootings,” a law-enforcement source briefed on the investigation told the Seattle Times. He had researched other mass shootings including the Columbine High School massacre in which two teenagers went on a shooting rampage killing 13 people and wounding 23 others.

Ybarra was not a student at Seattle Pacific University and there was reportedly “no rhyme or reason” to his actions.

Ybarra’s attorney said her client suffered from mental health issues and was “very remorseful about the pain he has caused these families and these victims.”

Two women embrace near a prayer circle on the campus of Seattle Pacific University on Friday, June 6. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Ybarra’s attorney, Ramona Brandes, said her client suffered from “longstanding mental health issues.” She said Ybarra offered his apologies to the victims’ families.

According to Brandes, Ybarra had undergone treatment for his mental heath issues in the past, but one of his mental health providers had not seen him in months. She said Ybarra had been feeling “isolated from his family and society,” adding that he “did not expect to be alive at the end of yesterday.”

In 2010, Ybarra called 911 saying he “wanted to hurt himself and others,” according to a police report obtained by the Seattle Times.

People walk past a sign on the Seattle Pacific University campus that reads “We Will Overcome This” on Friday. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

He was found to be intoxicated and was taken to the hospital for involuntary commitment. In 2012, police found Ybarra lying in the middle of the street asking for a SWAT team to get him and “make him famous.” That same year, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2013, was being treated for depression, mental health issues, anxiety, and OCD. He also underwent a year-long alcohol abuse treatment.

Updated — June 6, 9:28 a.m. ET

Seattle firefighters remove a victim from the scene of a shooting at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, June 5. AP Photo/, Joshua Trujillo

A gunman opened fire Thursday afternoon at Seattle Pacific University killing a 19-year-old man, and wounding three others.

Police said 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra was in custody. A student building monitor disarmed the gunman after he entered the foyer at Otto Miller Hall, and several other people jumped on top of him and pinned him down until police officers arrived, police told reporters.

Ybarra, who is not a student at Seattle Pacific, was armed with a shotgun and a knife, said Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh, at a news conference Thursday night. The suspect was booked into King County Jail.

AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Dean Rutz

Paramedics working on a shooting victim at 3rd ave and Nickerson. @q13fox

— David Rose (@DavidRoseQ13FOX)

Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center reported the first victim, who arrived in critical condition, died from his injuries.

The campus was placed on lockdown with students in the area advised to stay in place.

The afternoon shooting came a week before the end of the school year. Ellen M. Banner/Seattle Times / MCT

Police said they have one person in custody.

Officers have one in custody on @SeattlePacific campus. Officers and medics on scene. Developing.

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD)

Officials were searching for a second suspect, who was described as a white male wearing long sleeves and striped-blue shirt.

Officers still searching for 2nd suspect. White male, long sleeve blue shirt wth vertical stripes armed with handgun. @SeattlePacific

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD)

But later said the person in custody was believed to be the only shooter.

Re: shooting at Seattle Pacific University. The suspect is in custody. There are no outstanding suspects being sought.

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD)

A handcuffed person was seen being taken into custody by police on television.


Marcus Yam/Seattle Times / MCT

Law enforcement officers gather at the scene. AP Photo/, Joshua Trujillo

FBI officers responded to the shooting scene as well.

FBI just arrived at Nickerson and Bertona. Near SPU. police aren't saying much right now

— Scott Jensen (@sjensenK5)

The lockdown on the campus has been lifted.

.@SeattlePacific Otto Miller bldg secure. Lone Susp entered bldg, shot 4 vics, began reloading. Staff disarmed him. Gunman arrested

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD)

A possible weapon was seen on the floor inside Otto Miller Hall, the school’s engineering and sciences building.

PIC from a student from inside the building of #spushooting

— Jon Humbert (@jonhumbert)

At least four victims were received at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

Medics transporting 4 gunshot victims from #spushooting to HMC with wounds varying from minor to life threatening

— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire)

A male victim was reported in stable condition. In addition, one woman had life-threatening injuries and another woman was reported in stable condition.

SPU shooting patients update: male & female with life threatening injuries. 2 males in stable at HMC

— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire)

Confirmed 4 victims in @SeattlePacific shooting: 1 man 1 woman with life-threatening injuries; 1 man, 1 woman in stable condition

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD)

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times / MCT

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times / MCT

Seattle Pacific University students are lead out of the crime scene area after the shooting occurred. AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Dean Rutz

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times / MCT

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
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