A school shooter reined devastation down on a Washington State community Friday morning. The shooter, identified as Jaylen Fryberg, used what is believed to be a.40 caliber Beretta handgun to fire at a group of teenagers composed of his friends and cousins. One girl was killed. Four others were hit, three of them in the head. The victims and the suspect all attended Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Jaylen Fryberg, a 14-year-old freshman, was an athlete and popular student. He had recently been voted freshman homecoming prince. He played football and wrestled. He was by all accounts a friendly and well-liked person. He shot two of his cousins, 14-year-old Nate Hatch and 15-year-old Andrew Fryberg, and three girls, Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano both 14, among them. Three of the four injured teens are in critical condition with horrific head wounds. The third girl has not yet been identified, but she did not survive her injuries.
Police have not released a possible motive in this shocking school shooting. Jaylen Fryberg, a member of the Tulalip Native American tribe, was suspended after a fight over a racial slight several weeks prior, but that does not appear to be the reason for this act of violence. By all accounts, this teen went after the people closest to him. Don Hatch, grandfather of Nate Hatch, one of the 14-year-old victims, described the three boys as friends, as close as brothers. Tweets from his Twitter account paint a different story. He appears to be heartbroken and angry. He rants against an unnamed individual claiming he’ll no longer be his “brother.”
One of the victims’s friends, Bella Panjeli, has indicated that a girl, possibly one of the victims, may have come between the cousins that were as close as brothers.
“I heard he asked her out and she rebuffed him and was with his cousin. It was a fight over a girl.”
Many school shootings are fueled by the pain of being bullied, derided, ignored. These school shooters script their own stories that paint them as the star, and end with them going out in a blaze of homicidal/suicidal “glory.” In retrospect, there are often signs of these horrific fantasies, clues that in some small way showed that these tortured souls were planning to solve their problems in a gruesome fashion. Media reports can often fuel these ideas, spurring on copycats. This tragedy doesn’t seem to follow that devastating script. This school shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, was a typical kid that for reasons that make little sense to anyone, took a gun to school, killed his friends, and then himself.