A second victim has died after a popular high school student opened fire inside Marysville-Pilchuck High School near Seattle on Friday.
Gia Soriano, 14, succumbed to her injuries on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. Pacific time, the Providence Regional Medical Center said. Soriano was one of five people attacked by 15-year old freshman Jaylen Fryberg in a rampage directed at his friends and family members.
“We are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” Soriano’s family said in a statement read at a news conference by Joanne Roberts, a doctor at Providence. “Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her.” Her family will donate her organs, they said. “Our daughter was loving and kind and this gift honors her life,” they continued in the statement.
Zoe Galasso was shot and killed at the school on Friday. The 14-year-old was identified by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday, according to the Seattle Times. Galasso, the medical examiner’s office said, died of “a handgun wound of the head.” A memorial fund set up for donations to her family has raised more than $16,000.
Fryberg also died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the medical examiner’s office, which officially ruled his death a suicide, the Times reported.
Three other victims remained hospitalized Monday morning. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, is in critical condition at Providence, the hospital said on Sunday night. At Harborview Medical Center, 15-year old Andrew Fryberg is in critical condition, and 14-year old Nate Hatch is in serious condition according to CNN. Both boys were cousins of the shooter and suffered gunshot wounds to the head.
At 10:39 a.m on Monday — exactly 72 hours after Friday’s shooting — the Marysville community observed a moment of silence.
While the Marysville-Pilchuck High School will be closed this week, the Marysville School District said in a statement that schools that remain open have seen strong attendance from students, faculty and staff.
“We heard loud and clear from our students that they wanted to get back to school, be with their friends, grieve together and move forward,” said District Superintendent Becky Berg in a statement. “That said, each family will make a personal judgment about what their student needs to transition to our new normal.”
“I’m proud of our faculty and staff for coming to work and being there for the kids,” continued Berg. “It is a challenging time, but we will continue moving forward together.”
Days after the tragedy, questions remain about what led Jaylen Fryberg to turn on his friends and family in his high school cafeteria, days after the group went to homecoming together.
“Only God knows what escalated this. Only God knows. Nobody pushed a button with bullying. It’s just something that happened, and we don’t know why,” Nate Hatch’s grandfather Don Hatch told KOMO.
Witnesses said that Fryberg’s targets were not random. Jordan Luton, who was eating his lunch in the cafeteria on Friday, told CNN that he saw the shooter approach a table of students “from behind.”
He “fired about six bullets into the backs of them,” Luton said. “They were his friends, so it wasn’t just random.”
The brutal murders seem all the more senseless coming from a boy who friends and community members described as “happy” — a “golden boy” by one account.
He had recently been voted the freshman class’s prince in the homecoming court. A member of a prominent family in the Tulalip Tribe, he enjoyed hunting and fishing.
“Probably the best BrithDay present ever, I just love my parents!!!,” he wrote in a recent Instagram post after apparently receiving a hunting rifle as a gift.
But those who knew him sensed signs of trouble in the days and weeks leading up to Friday’s violence.
In his tweets, Fryberg fired off what appeared to be angry, anguished messages.
“It breaks me…It actually does… I know it seems like I’m sweating it off… But I’m not.. And I never will be able to…” he wrote on Oct. 21.
His final message, one day before he opened fire on a group of friends in the cafeteria: “It won’t last… It’ll never last….”
Friends said that Jaylen Fryberg had recently gone through a breakup, which might have contributed to Friday’s tragedy.
“I heard that like his girlfriend broke up with him,” Jaylen Fryberg’s friend Frankie Pena told CNN. “The tweets that everyone’s been re-tweeting throughout the past couple of days of their conversations have been pretty brutal, honestly. So that could have been affecting it.”
Among the close-knit Tulalip Indians, everyone “is related in one shape or form,” state Sen. John McCoy, a tribal member and friend of the family, told the Associated Press.
“What triggered him? That’s what we need to find out,” McCoy told the AP. “Because from all we have determined, he was a happy-go-lucky, normal kid.”
Don Hatch said that despite the tragedy, the shooter’s family is also his family, and he intends to visit them.
“I’ll say, ‘I feel for you and I’ll pray for you. Even though my grandson got shot, I’m with you and I’m praying for you,”’ he told KOMO.
As law enforcement and the tribal community try to piece together the puzzle of Jaylen Fryberg’s final days and hours, there is growing evidence that the actions of a brave teacher might have saved lives that day.
Witnesses said that Megan Silberberger, a first-year social studies teacher, rushed to the cafeteria from a nearby office to confront the shooter when she heard gunshots.
“She ran into the cafeteria and saw students down,” said Randy Davis, president of the Marysville Education Association, according to CNN. “She ran towards the shooter,” he said, “to stop… and help secure (him).”
““I believe she’s actually the real hero,” said Erick Cervantes, a student who witnessed the confrontation. “She’s the one that intercepted him with the gun. He tried either reloading or tried aiming at her. She tried moving his hand away, and he tried shooting and shot himself in the neck.”
Fryberg was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound from the .40 caliber Baretta handgun he used as his weapon, according to CNN.
“I’m completely amazed. There’s two ways anybody could go in that situation,” Davis told said to The Seattle Times, about Silberberger.
“You can flee or you can go toward it. Obviously, we’re glad she did what she did and thankful,” he said.
[This post has been updated.]