Seattle College Students Affected by Shooting Turn to Prayer

( [email protected] ) Jun 06, 2014 06:26 PM EDT
A Sad Day for Seattle
Students and faculty pray together following a shooting on the campus of Seattle Pacific University Thursday, June 5, 2014, in Seattle. (AP)

Students, teachers and parents turned to prayer for perspective following yesterday's horrific shooting at Seattle Pacific University.

First Free Methodist Church, located just outside the University's campus, held a vigil to commemorate the victims and pray for their families and friends.

Hundreds of participants held candles and sang hymns. So many people crowded into the building that dozens of people gathered on a lawn near the church and formed their own groups as the sun set.

University President Dan Martin tweeted, "Grateful for the love and prayers of so many around the globe. Please continue to pray for the impacted students and family."

Aaron R. Ybarra opened fire on the University's campus, killing one person and wounding two before being taken down by a student security guard identified as John Meis.

Meis, 22, used pepper spray to subdue Ybarra after he allegedly shot several students and was reloading his weapon, officials told ABC News affiliate KOMO.

Police reported that several other people jumped on top of the gunman and pinned him down until officers arrived.

"There are a number of heroes in this," Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said at a press conference. "The people around him (the gunman) stepped up."

Meis, along with the injured victims, were taken to Harborview Medical Center.Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said today that Meis was released and was unharmed but said, "Obviously he's undergoing mental anguish."

"There were no visible injuries. It was, I think, coming to grips with what happened, the trauma of seeing what happened to his fellow students," Gregg said.

Victims included a 19 year old male who died from his injuries.. A female student, 19, was listed in critical but stable condition with shotgun pellets in her chest and abdomen. A male student, 24, had pellets in his neck and chin, but could be released this weekend, she said.

Ybarra, 26, is being held without bail in King County Jail on homicide charges, according to jail records.

According to reports, officers raced to the scene shortly after the shooting. The university locked down its campus for several hours, and it alerted students and staff to stay inside.

Multiple shots were fired, and the gunman had additional rounds, McDonagh said. Authorities said they still aren't sure of the gunman's motive or intended target.

"But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic," he said.