The outpouring of support, emotional and financial, for the "hero" and victims of last week's Seattle Pacific University shooting has been truly heartwarming. As of Monday, June 9, members of the community have donated $60,000 for help with victims medical bills, funeral preparations for one who died, and wedding registry gifts for the "hero" student who jumped into save the day.
The response to Thursday's shooting has been decidedly different. Rather than the media attention focusing on the shooter's profile, it has largely gone to one brave student named Jon Meis, who jumped in on the shooter when he was reloading, pepper sprayed him, and stopped him from exerting more damage.
When people in the community found out about Meis' identity and upcoming wedding, complete strangers bought all the items on the gift registry, and a producer from 710 ESPN Seattle started a crowd-funding page to help pay for their honeymoon, raising over $40,000. Meis has asked for privacy and help for the victim's families.
Meis released a statement Monday morning. Among other things, he said:
"When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man. While I cannot at this time find it within me to forgive his crime, I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community."
The shooter was identified as Aaron Ybarra, a 26 year old male who was not a student at the school. A motive is still unknown, but he has a history of mental health issues. He is currently held without bail.