Students Tackle Gunman In Fatal Seattle Pacific University Shooting

Jillian Smith, a 20-year-old student at Seattle Pacific University, took this photo as she ran out of the Otto Miller building. As she ran out, police rushed in.
Jillian Smith, a 20-year-old student at Seattle Pacific University, took this photo as she ran out of the Otto Miller building. As she ran out, police rushed in.
Credit Courtesy Jillian Smith

Updated 9:20 p.m. PT:

One person was killed and three others were wounded on Thursday afternoon when a lone suspect entered a classroom building at Seattle Pacific University and opened fire with a shotgun, according to police officials.

The suspect, 26, began reloading when a student building monitor disarmed him with pepper spray. Other students then tackled the suspect, who was carrying a knife and more ammunition. The shooting took place at the university's Otto Miller Hall, a science and engineering building.

Medics transported the four victims to Harborview Medical Center. A man, 20, died, according to a hospital spokeswoman.  

Otto Miller Hall at Seattle Pacific University was the scene of a shooting on Thursday afternoon.
Otto Miller Hall at Seattle Pacific University was the scene of a shooting on Thursday afternoon.
Credit Seattle Pacific University

A 20-year-old woman, described as "critical," is in surgery. Two men, ages 22 and 24, were described as being in satisfactory condition. One of the men wasn't shot but was hurt during the struggle with the shooter.

The suspect is in police custody. He was brought to police headquarters around 4:40 p.m., according to the police scanner. Police initially said they were looking for a second suspect.

The SWAT team canvassed the campus and cleared buildings throughout the afternoon.

The university is in lockdown, according to its website, and all evening and Friday classes are canceled. Seattle Pacific University, a private Christian college, is in north Queen Anne, east of Magnolia.

Jordan DeSouza, a 19-year-old computer science major, was in his third floor dorm room when he heard sirens wail down Nickerson. When he looked out his window, he also saw unmarked black vehicles.

“Around 3:10 p.m. we counted 10 cop cars going over there to Nickerson and 3rd, and next thing we knew, the whole campus was on lockdown,” DeSouza said.

DeSouza, who is originally from Bend, Oregon, said he and his roommate keep their window open but that he didn’t hear gunshots. They are about a football field away from Otto Miller, he said.

All of the sudden this guy was like, Let's pray. It kind of calmed us down and helped us, unify us a little. It was nice. It was really cool for him to do that.

Dorm supervisors – called “peer advisors” – started circulating, telling students to stay low. DeSouza and his roommate pulled the blinds and sat on their couch, which is low to the ground.

“The craziest thing is that I had a physics class from 12:50 to 2:50 p.m. today, but I didn’t feel like going today,” he said. “So I stayed in my dorm room today. It was right at Otto Miller. I usually go. I was there yesterday.”

DeSouza followed the procedure outlined by the school’s emergency management plan. In the section “armed intruder,” those on campus are told to close window coverings and get low on the floor.

Nav Kaur, a junior, said the school did a good job warning students by immediately sending out a text message.

“Right away they had us in a room within a minute of the text,” Kaur said. “I thought it was really quick and efficient."

Christina Kim, a nursing student, said she was studying in the library when students were alerted to the shooting.

"We were just studying and all of the sudden my friend gets a text that says we're on lockdown,” Kim said. “We went outside, and the double doors were closed. We didn't know what was going on. The librarian, he comes in and he tells us to go into this room.”

They were there for about an hour, she said.

"Everybody was like, 'What's going on? What's going on?'” she said. “And all of the sudden this guy was like, ‘Let's pray,’” she said. “It kind of calmed us down and helped us, unify us a little. It was nice. It was really cool for him to do that."

Daniel Martin, the president of Seattle Pacific University, said there will be a prayer vigil held at 7 p.m. on campus. 

KUOW's Arwen Nicks and Bond Huberman contributed reporting.

The location of the shooting:

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