Suspected Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra was obsessed with the Columbine High School shooting and visited the Colorado school prior to allegedly opening fire Thursday at SPU and killing one person before being subdued by a student with pepper spray.
Ybarra, 26, also liked a Facebook page about “guns and snipers” and, according to police, said he wanted to shoot up a school, according to Seattle television station KIRO Channel 7. Unnamed police sources told the station that Ybarra was obsessed with Columbine, where two student shooters killed 13 people and later themselves at the Denver school in 1999. But one friend who said he was close to Ybarra was shocked that Ybarra was named as the suspect in the SPU shooting. He said Ybarra never talked about guns and was more interested in fishing.
“I’m really good at deciphering if someone’s got bad news or in trouble. I’m blown away by this,’’ friend Zack McKinley told the Seattle Times. “He called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to go fishing.”
On his Facebook page, Ybarra described himself as a “very mellow guy,” a departure from the allegations against him claiming he started shooting inside a SPU building and shot four people, killing one, before a student, identified by media outlets as Jon Meis, sprayed him with pepper spray while he was trying to reload.
“He was hell-bent on killing a lot of people [Thursday],” a law enforcement source told the Times. After allegedly confessing, Ybarra, who isn't a SPU student, said he expected to die during the shooting.
As of Friday morning, police were still investigating a motive in the SPU shooting. But police said that the suspected gunman visited the site of the Columbine High School shooting and was intent on shooting up a school.
McKinley described Ybarra as “super happy and friendly” and “an awesome guy, someone who would never let you down.”
“It makes no sense at all,” McKinley said of Ybarra’s arrest.
A former co-worker at the gym where Ybarra used to hold a job also used similar words to describe him.
“He was an amazing friend. Good worker. He was really calm and nice. If you know him, you would not think he would do it -- he’s just not that type that would do something like that,” Annie Nguyen told Q13 Fox News.
Nguyen said Ybarra once invited her to go to a shooting range with him.
Ybarra has had prior arrests, but not for any violent incidents, according to the Times. He had been arrested for drunken driving and operating a vehicle without insurance.