Calling the June 5 shooting that left one dead and three injured at Seattle Pacific University “a horrific crime,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg filed charging documents against shooting suspect Aaron Ray Ybarra, 26, on Tuesday. The Mountlake Terrace man was charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault.
If convicted of all charges, Ybarra would bring a sentence term of 69 to 86 years, but Satterberg said his office would seek an exceptional sentence of life in prison, allowable under state sentencing laws for crimes committed that lead to destructive impacts on persons other than the victim or victims.
Ybarra was arrested at the scene of the shootings inside Otto Miller Hall on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. He allegedly used a shotgun to fatally shoot a 19-year-old SPU freshman, Paul Lee, of Portland. Another 19-year-old student, Sarah Williams, of Phoenix, is in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A third student, Thomas Fowler Jr., 24, of Seattle, was also injured in the attack but has been released from the hospital, as was Jon Meis, 22, of Renton, who is credited with ending the shooting spree by tackling and disarming the suspect.
Ybarra is being held without bail in the King County Jail in downtown Seattle.
In a statement to the press, Satterberg said that the shooting incident at SPU will have an impact on the campus, and in the Seattle area, for years to come. “The truth is that crime of random and senseless violence took a toll well beyond the student who was killed, those who were injured, and their immediate families,” Satterberg stated. “Though it is impossible to measure, I believe that our entire community suffers a profound loss each time there is an incident of mass violence.”
Satterberg shared that police found a journal in a pickup truck parked near Otto Miller Hall that indicated Ybarra had been planning the attack for some time, and included statements of admiration towards those responsible for fatal shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech.
A journal entry on the morning of June 5 stated “I just want people to die and I’m going to die with them,” Satterberg said.
Satterberg also said that Ybarra had visited the SPU at least twice over the past couple of weeks, one time being shown around campus by students and an academic counselor.
Seattle police searched the Ybarra family home in southeast Mountlake Terrace during the late evening hours of June 5, but Satterberg did not say what evidence may have been gathered from that search.