A message from the chairman of the Tulalip Tribes said he was “deeply saddened” by the violent shooting near Seattle that left two dead on Friday, perpetrated by Jaylen Fryberg. Fryberg, the student who shot five people and himself at his high school in Marysville, was a high-profile 15-year-old member of the Native American Tulalip Tribes.
Fryberg shot and killed himself and one other student on Friday and seriously wounded four others.
Described as “an adored child from a prominent Tulalip Tribes family” by the Seattle Times, Jaylen was active in tribal life and a popular student at school.
Tribal Chairman Herman Williams Sr. asked in his statement that other tribal members be left alone.
“The fact that tribal members were involved makes it extremely hard to respond to any inquiries until we are aware of all the circumstances,” reads Williams’ statement. “Our community is reeling from this experience, so we ask that the media and the public honor the families and our children in this time of grief. Sadly, we are now experiencing what has become a national trend, which we, as a society, must address.”
He added that the greatest impact will be on the children.
“These are our children,” he said. “They are suffering, and their lives will be forever changed.”
Among tribal members, Jaylen was considered a rising star, and represented the best of the tribe’s young people. One tribal member even referred to Fryberg as “a golden boy,” while another said he seemed like someone with potential to be a future tribal leader.
Numerous people in the Tulalip tribal community were Jaylen’s immediate and extended family members. Some of his family are high-level members, including his grandfather, who director of the Tulalip Tribes fish and wildlife. Other members of his family are also involved in government.
Rumors among classmates on Thursday and months of messages on social media point to serious frustrations over a recent romantic drama.
“It breaks me… It actually does… I know it seems like I’m sweating it off… But I’m not.. And I never will be able to,” Jaylen wrote on Twitter on October 21 from his account @frybergj.
Official descriptions from authorities about Friday’s shooting detailed a brief series of events that led to Fryberg’s death. Authorities said that he walked into the Marysville-Pilchuck High School cafeteria, reached across a table, and fired a handgun at classmates sitting at the table, killing one and injuring four others. Two of the people who survived the shooting were cousins of his. Jaylen Fryberg then died after turning the gun on himself and shooting.