Seattle School Shooting: Gunman Kills 1, Injures 3 at Christian College; Religious Leaders Urge Prayer

( [email protected] ) Jun 05, 2014 11:14 PM EDT
Seattle Pacific University Shooting
Onlookers embrace near the scene of a shooting at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday. About 4,270 students attend the private Christian university, located in a residential neighbourhood about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle. (Associated Press)

A gunman opened fire earlier today at a Christian University in Seattle, Washington, killing one person and wounding two before being taken down by a student security guard.

According to Seattle police, the gunman was in the process of reloading his gun when the security guard used pepper spray to knock him down at Seattle Pacific University. 

"Once on the ground, other students jumped on top of them and subdued the shooter," reported the police.

The suspect , whose identity has not yet been revealed, is currently in custody.

Seattle Pacific University Shooting
A policeman secures the scene at Seattle Pacific University after the campus was evacuated due to a shooting in Seattle, Washington June 5, 2014. REUTERS/David Ryder

The shooting began inside the foyer of Otto Miller Hall, which houses the university's science, math and engineering departments, when the gunman confronted three people and shot them.

A wounded man in his 20s was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center about 90 minutes after the 3:30 p.m. PT shootings at Seattle Pacific University, an evangelical Christian school north of downtown. A 20-year-old woman was critically wounded and was in surgery Thursday evening, the hospital said.

Two men, one 24 and the other 22, were listed in stable condition, one with a gunshot wound. The hospital did not specify the other man's injuries.

Briana Clarke told CNN she was in Otto Miller Hall when she heard two shots that sounded like "helium balloons popping."

"I thought it was another one of my professors that was giving a demonstration," she said.

"I walked into the hallway and saw a classmate of mine running frantically, saying that someone had been shot."

University President Daniel J. Martin told CNN he turned on a monitor to view security camera images from Otto Miller Hall after he was heard about the shooting.

"The students acted without regard for their own safety," he said.

Traumatized students have expressed gratitude for the security responsible for disarming the shooter via Twitter.Many Seattle Pacific students have identified him as John Meis, an engineering student, and called him a hero.

President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Al Mohler is urging the country to pray for the campus during this time, tweeting, "Just this minute heard news of the shooting at Seattle Pacific University. Urgently praying for the entire SPU family."

Seattle Pacific University is a small, Christian school of about 4,000 students.

It was founded in 1891 by Free Methodists as Seattle Seminary, a school to train missionaries for working overseas. The school is known for its conservative, Christian values, as its Lifestyle Expectations statement for students bans premarital sex, extramarital affairs, couples living together outside of marriage and all homosexual activities.