Attorney for suspect in SPU shooting: 'He is sorry'

Attorney for suspect in SPU shooting: 'He is sorry' »Play Video
Aaron Ybarra makes an initial court appearance on June 6, 2014.
SEATTLE - Police say the suspect in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University Thursday wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself.

A judge found probable cause to hold 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra without bail Friday. The hearing came a day after Ybarra was arrested in the shooting that killed student Paul Lee and wounded two other young people at Seattle Pacific University.

In a statement filed in court, Seattle police wrote that Ybarra admitted to detectives after his arrest that he wanted to kill as many people as possible and then himself.

Instead, police say a student building monitor pepper-sprayed and tackled Ybarra as he reloaded his shotgun.

Public defender Ramona Brandes said Ybarra had long had mental health problems and is on suicide watch at the jail. And she said he is sorry for what he did.

"He is cognizant of the suffering of the victims and their families and the entire Seattle Pacific community," she said. "He is sorry."

Student building monitor 'a hero'

Ybarra was found with at least 50 rounds of additional ammunition a knife after his arrest, court documents said. Police said the toll could have been much higher had it not been for the heroics of Jon Meis.

The 22-year-old building monitor pepper-sprayed and tackled the gunman, likely preventing further carnage, according to police and university officials. Meis and other students subdued him until officers arrived and handcuffed him moments later.

"I'm proud of the selfless actions that my roommate, Jon Meis, showed today taking down the shooter," fellow student Matt Garcia wrote on Twitter. "He is a hero."

Meis, a dean's list electrical engineering student, was emotionally anguished but not injured in the shooting, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Friday. He was treated at a hospital and released.

The shooting victims included 19-year-old Sarah Williams, who was critically wounded but upgraded to serious condition Friday after a five-hour surgery. Gregg said she was now conscious and breathing on her own. A 24-year-old man, Thomas Fowler, remained in satisfactory condition, Gregg said.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Friday identified the student killed as Paul Lee, a "Korean-American student with a bright future." Lee attended high school in Portland, KATU-TV reported.

Ybarra hospitalized twice for mental health evaluations

Ybarra had longstanding mental-health issues and has been treated and medicated in the past, his lawyer said. Brandes added she is seeking his treatment records and did not know his specific diagnosis.

Ybarra was hospitalized for mental health evaluations twice in recent years, said Pete Caw, assistant police chief in Ybarra's hometown of Mountlake Terrace.

Officers encountered Ybarra in 2010 and 2012. Both times, he was severely intoxicated and taken to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds for evaluation, Caw said. In the October 2012 incident, police found Ybarra lying in a roadway.

He was arrested on suspicion of DUI in nearby Edmonds in 2012, said Edmonds police Sgt. Mark Marsh.

"We are so very shocked and sad over yesterday's shootings at SPU," Ybarra's family said in a statement. "We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people. To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you."

Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said detectives are still working to determine the gunman's motive or intended target.