Aaron Ybarra, the accused Seattle Pacific University shooter

Aaron Ybarra, Accused SPU Shooter, Had ‘Long-Standing Mental Health Issues’ Lawyer Says

The alleged Seattle Pacific University shooter, Aaron Ybarra, has dealt with mental health issues for quite some time according to his lawyer. A judge ordered Ybarra held without bail in a court hearing on Friday. According to Reuters, his attorney Ramona Brandes revealed some insight into what may have led to the tragic SPU shooting.

Brandes says that Aaron Ybarra has “significant and long-standing mental health issues” and he had been involuntarily committed previously. She adds that at this point it is not known why Ybarra chose SPU as his target location, but when it comes to the victims and families involved, “he is sorry for their pain.”

Though there are still quite a few unknowns at this point, Brandes revealed that the alleged SPU gunman had been involuntarily committed due to mental health issues in both 2010 and 2012. Ybarra is said to have been fascinated with other school mass shootings, particularly the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

The Associated Press via Yahoo! News revealed that the incident in 2010 was tied to Aaron Ybarra calling 911 himself talking about “a rage inside him.” He indicated that he wanted to hurt both himself and others. The 2012 incident allegedly involved the young man lying in the street in front of him home, drunk, ranting that he wanted a SWAT team to “get him and make him famous.”

At this time Ybarra, 26, is on suicide watch at the jail, says his lawyer. She says that “he is cognizant of the suffering of the victims and their families and the entire Seattle Pacific community.” The alleged gunman’s family has released a statement saying that they “are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people.”

Aaron Ybarra fatally shot a 19-year-old and injured two others before Jon Meis, a student building monitor and electrical engineering student, bravely subdued the gunman. Meis was uninjured. Ybarra is said to have been aiming to kill as many people as possible before eventually taking his own life. He is now being held without bail on suspicion of first-degree murder and assault.

The alleged gunman was not a student at the school, and it is not known why he targeted Seattle Pacific University. He is said to have walked into a SPU building where he started shooting. He paused to reload, and that is when Meis pepper sprayed him and tackled him. Several bystanders jumped in to help, and they were able to seize his shotgun and keep him subdued until authorities arrived. Aaron Ybarra is said to have had 50 rounds of shotgun ammunition and a hunting knife with him as well. Many are chilled to wonder how many more might have died had Ybarra’s rampage been able to continue uninterrupted, and many are hailing Meis as a hero.

[Image: The Guardian]

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