In Marysville, Washington, a 14-year-old freshman wounded four people, killed one, and then himself. The school district's left asking questions on why.
On Friday afternoon, students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School fled as a lone student opened fire in the crowded school. According to Marysville police, the gunman injured several people, then killed himself.
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Marysville, Wash., is located north of Seattle, approximately an hour away.
Cox Media Group's local CBS affiliate, KIRO 7, was at the scene, reporting in livestream coverage across the internet as events unfolded. Police indicated the shooting happened around 10:39 a.m., Pacific Time, and requested parents not attempt to pick up their students at the school. And in fact, the station's chopper showed students evacuating from buildings, hands up, as they met with police, fire, and medic units before being bussed away, or moved to an area away from the school.
As the shooting began, some students close to shooting ran to homes in the area.
Tom Hopper emailed KIRO 7, stating, "Our son just called to let us know that his kids are ok - his son was about 50 feet from the shooter - a student that he knows." News would later confirm that Jaylen Frysberg, a freshmen, was the shooter. "Our grandson and his friends ran away - jumped a fence and went to a home in the area. He didn't know about any victims but thought there was at least one."
CNN’s reporting that two law enforcement officials said that four people have been wounded, where three are in critical and one in serious condition. According to hospital spokesperson Erin Al-Wazan, three of the victims are in surgery at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett and one is being transferred to Harborview Medical Center. One of the victims has died.
And student Rigo Perez told KIRO 7 what he witnessed at the school. "We just got evacuated by police to a church nearby. I did not see the gunman. I was in the student store and it’s right next to the cafeteria, and then out of nowhere we heard the shooting."
Quite a few students were evacuated to the local, where parents were encouraged to pick their students up from if absolutely needed. Otherwise, officials recommended staying at home, or waiting until after the situation had been stabilized.
Perez continued. "We didn’t think it was nothing; we thought it was someone throwing down something and then we saw everyone running out and we automatically knew it was a shooting. We ran into a back room and Mr. Miller helped us with getting all safe."
Even though school shootings are no longer isolated incidents in the United States, the anchors on air described how it felt to be one of the known areas now. Emotions shaking the voice occasionally, the fear as a parent palatable.
“They just called all the parents to say there has been a tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck high school.” Anchor Michelle Millman’s son attends a different high school, but that school sent out a call reassuring parents of safety measures in case of an emergency. “This is heart breaking. You cannot imagine what’s going on at school districts across our area, parents are getting these calls.”
Relief was evident in the anchor’s voice, as well the fear for the parents unsure of what happened and how their children are faring. Monique Ming Laven, her co-host, said “As we can hear in your voice, this hits every parent and every student. It really drives home that this is an issue that we are having to deal with today.”
Marysville School District released a statement soon after the shooting began:
"The Marysville Pilchuck High School is currently in lock down due to an emergency situation. Police and emergency services have responded. The Marysville School District lock down procedures will remain in effect at Marysville Pilchuck until further notice from law enforcement. We will continue to forward communication in cooperation with law enforcement."
In order to help authorities investigate, a Seattle FBI spokesperson confirmed to the station that the agency arranged for personnel to arrive at the scene as soon as possible.
In a press briefing held by the Marysville police and covered by USA Today, Commander Robert Lamoureux said, "Right we are now confirming one person that is deceased and that person is believe to be the shooter and at this point we do not believe there are any other shooters on campus."
He also confirmed the calls came from inside the school, around 10:4 a.m. Other officials helping in the case belong to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.
Airlift Northwest confirmed to the press that "they are transporting two patients, but didn't give more information."
Parents and staff speaking to other news organizations offered what they knew about the incident as it happened. Football coach Brandon Carson told KING-TV he's not at school, but was still checking in with his players. "I don't know if any players are involved. I have checked in with a few, and I have talked with a handful of kids." All he wantrd to do was make sure "my kids are safe."
Parent Di Andres agrees. "He said that the school has been in lockdown and he's been hiding in a closet in a classroom with some classmates." This confirms what other student accounts, who spoke with to KIRO 7, saying they were hiding in various locations around the school until police officials let them out.
Andres said that by using text messages, she knows how her son is faring. "As far as we know, he's okay and safe with those other classmates."
Carson did confirm that "they said there's a shooter in the lunchroom and that's all I know."
When speaking to CNN, witness Jordan Luton said the shooter "came up from behind ... and fired about six bullets into the backs of them.” Even more tragic is fact the victims “were his friends, so it wasn't just random.”
On-air, KIRO’s reporter-on-scene said that a family member of the shooter approached, telling her the name, but the station had chosen to wait in announcing based on ethical guidelines as well as waiting or the sweeps across campus to end, just in case. Classes and events have been canceled for Friday.
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Student accounts of the event are found all over press right now. And Marysville will face difficult choices and thoughts over the next several days. Hopefully, there will be some way to guide the community in such a tragic event.