2 Dead In Marysville Shooting; Eyewitnesses Identify Shooter
Updated 9:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26
The scene was surreal and all too familiar.
Students sprinting across school fields with hands above their heads.
Police officers, guns drawn, moving from building to building, looking for another possible shooter.
Cell towers overwhelmed by messages from frantic students. Terrified parents crowding the hospital waiting room to hear if their kid made it out alive.
Around 10:40 a.m. on Friday, a young teenage boy who had been crowned homecoming prince just weeks before, opened fire in the cafeteria at Marysville Pilchuck High School, in a suburb about 45 minutes north of Seattle.
Authorities have yet to name the shooter, but eyewitnesses identify him as Jaylen Fryberg, age 14. He killed a teen girl and shot four others – two boys, two girls – in the head before fatally shooting himself. Police say he acted alone.
It is the second school shooting in the Seattle area in fewer than five months. In June, a gunman opened fire at Seattle Pacific University.
Doctors at Providence Medical Center in Everett struggled throughout the day to identify two of the wounded female students. Their faces were unrecognizable, said Dr. Joanne Roberts.
"We're trying to establish their identities," Roberts said at an emotional press conference on Friday afternoon. "It's very hard to identify people with head wounds as you can imagine. There's a lot of swelling."
"Our community is going to mourn this for years," Roberts said. "I can tell you that we will all go home tonight and cry."
On Saturday morning, the female victims' parents gave permission to release their names to the public. A statement from Providence said Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both age 14, remain in critical condition. They are in the intensive care unit there.
One of the victims, 15-year-old Andrew Fryberg, was stable enough to be flown by helicopter to Harborview Friday afternoon. His condition on Sunday morning was critical, and he remains in intensive care.
14-year-old Nate Hatch, who was shot in the jaw, arrived at Harborview earlier Friday by ambulance. He remains in serious condition and improving in intensive care.
State Senator John McCoy said he knows Jaylen Fryberg's family, members of the Tulalip tribe.
“I did not really know the boy, but I know the parents and they don’t resort to violence, they normally resort to prayer,” McCoy said. “They’re a very religious family, so this boy doing this is just totally out of character for that family.”
McCoy adds that the alleged shooter grew up in a household where guns and hunting were a big part of their life. He does not know how accessible those guns were.
Carolyn Adolph reported from Marysville; Austin Jenkins from Olympia and Andy Hurst, Kim Malcolm and Kara McDermott from Seattle. This story was written by Isolde Raftery.