MARYSVILLE — A student recently crowned freshman class Homecoming prince walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria on Friday and opened fire without shouting or arguing, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
Students said the gunman was staring at students as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The shootings set off a chaotic scene as students ran out of the cafeteria and building in a frantic dash to safety while others were told to stay put inside classrooms at the school, 30 miles north of Seattle.
The gunman was identified as student Jaylen Fryberg, a government official with direct knowledge of the shooting told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Students and parents said Fryberg was a freshman who played on the high school football team. He was introduced at a football game as the school’s 2014 Homecoming court freshmen class prince, according to a video shot by parent Jim McGauhey.
Marysville Police Commander Robb Lamoureux said the gunman died of a self-inflicted wound, but he could not provide more details.
Three of the people shot by Fryberg had head wounds and were in critical condition. Two young women were taken to Providence Everett Medical Center, and a 15-year-old boy was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, hospital officials said. Another victim, a 14-year-old boy, was listed in serious condition at Harborview as well, the hospital said.
Inside the cafeteria, witnesses described Fryberg as methodical.
Brian Patrick said his daughter, a freshman, was 10 feet from him when the shooting occurred. She ran from the cafeteria and immediately called her mother.
Patrick said his daughter told him, “The guy walked into the cafeteria, pulled out a gun and started shooting. No arguing, no yelling.”
Student, Austin Taylor, told KING-TV that the shooter “was just staring down every one of his victims as he shot them.”
Malia Grato, a junior, said she heard a few pops, then the fire alarm and began filing out of her classroom.
She didn’t realize something was seriously wrong until teachers started shouting that there had been a shooting.
“It was scary because it’s happened in a lot of schools, but you never really imagine it will happen in yours,” said Grato, who said she was friendly with Fryberg and described him as a quiet, good guy.
Outside the school, students started streaming out of the building, with some trying to jump a fence to get away, witnesses said.
Cedar Parker, a 17-year-old senior, said he was driving away from campus when the shooting happened. He let several students into his car as he heard others yelling for their friends: “Where are you?”
A crowd of parents waited in a parking lot outside a nearby church where they were being reunited with their children. Buses pulled up periodically to drop off students evacuated from the school, with some running to hug their mothers or fathers.
Patrick said after the shooting, his other daughter, a senior at the school, called him “hysterical” from her classroom.
“I thought, ‘God let my kids be safe,” he said.
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said the agency was assisting local law enforcement and providing specialists to work with victims and their families.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School has many students from the Tulalip Indian tribe. State Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member, said the shooting had devastated the community.
“We’re all related in one shape or form. We live and work and play together,” he said.
Another shooting occurred June 5 in the metro area at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others.