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Internet Users Give Back to Student who Subdued Seattle Pacific University Gunman

( [email protected] ) Jun 09, 2014 02:56 PM EDT
Last week, Seattle Pacific University student John Meis became a hero after he stopped a shooting that could have turned into an even more devastating situation. Now, hundreds of strangers are thanking him, paying for Meis and his fiance's entire wedding registry.
Meis and his fiance hope to marry later this month (AP)

Seattle Pacific University student Jon Meis became a national hero after he pepper sprayed and subdued a shooter who opened fire on the University campus last week.

Now, the country is giving back, as the internet has come alive with strangers wanting to thank the 26 year old engineering student for his bravery.

Links to Meis and his fiancé's Target and Crate and Barrel wedding registries began circulating on the internet soon after his name became public.

The Wire reports that, by the beginning of the weekend, almost every registry item available online had been purchased for the couple. Meanwhile, Jessamyn McIntyre, a Seattle ESPN producer who wanted to thank Meis, set up a fundraising page to pay for his honeymoon. Over $25,000 has been donated so far.

Meis saved numerous lives as he stopped shooter Aaron Ybarra as he stopped to reload his weapon. Three students were shot and one killed when Ybarra began firing. After pepper spraying the shooter, Meis, who worked as a campus security guard, restrained Ybarra by placing him in a chokehold until police arrived.

The young man has declined media requests for interviews since the shooting, instead issuing a statement released through Seattle Pacific, a small, Christian college located north of downtown Seattle.

"I know that I am being hailed as a hero, and as many people have suggested I find this hard to accept," he wrote. "I am indeed a quiet and private individual; while I have imagined what it would be like to save a life I never believed I would be put in such a situation. It touches me truly and deeply to read online that parents are telling their children about me and telling them that real heroes do exist."

Nevertheless, he added: "What I find most difficult about this situation is the devastating reality that a hero cannot come without tragedy. In the midst of this attention, we cannot ignore that a life was taken from us, ruthlessly and without justification or cause. Others were badly injured, and many more will carry this event with them the rest of their lives."

When he came face to face with the shooter, Meis writes that Ybarra "was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man."

The young hero reveals that he is not yet able to forgive the shooter, who devastated the tight knit community. However, he concluded his statement on a surprisingly compassionate note.

"I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community," he wrote.