A male student opened fire inside a high school cafeteria near Seattle on Friday, killing one student and injuring at least four others before taking his own life, officials said.
Late Friday, the gunman was identified as Jaylen Fryberg by a government official, who has knowledge of the situation but who didn’t have permission to speak to reporters.
Police confirmed Friday afternoon that a female student died in the late Friday morning shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Authorities are confident that the shooter, a freshman, was acting alone, Robb Lamoureux, a commander with the Marysville, Wash., Police Department, said during a news briefing. Lamoureux said police did not know yet the relationship between the shooter and victims. (Earlier in the day, police had said the shooter was the only person killed, but later corrected the information.)
CNN reported that witness Jordan Luton said he saw a student walk into the school cafeteria, then fire “about six bullets into the back of them. They were his friends.”
The Seattle Times reported that two other students said they were outside of the cafeteria when they heard the gunshots and ran into a classroom full of students. “Everybody in the classroom was just freaking out crying,” freshman Brandon Carr said, the newspaper reported. The Times also reported that the cafeteria exits were packed as students rushed out, away from gunfire.
“Everyone just started running. I could hear the gunshots and my heart was racing and we didn’t know what was going on,” student Adam Holston said, the Times reported.
On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that three of the four victims were in critical condition with head wounds; one of them was identified as Andrew Fryberg, 15. The fourth victim, 14-year-old Nate Hatch, was in serious condition, according to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Relatives told KIRO-TV that Jaylen Fryberg was the cousin of Andrew Fryberg and Hatch, AP reported.
The school, which is located about 45 minutes from Seattle, was locked down after the gunshots in the building, the school district said. By Friday afternoon, police had secured the school campus and were busy interviewing roughly 30 witnesses, including students and staff, Lamoureux said. Parents were told to go to a church nearby to meet their children.
“There are really no words to describe this type of tragedy,” Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said during a news conference.
Video footage captured by local media and photos posted online showed a considerable police presence outside the high school.
— Connie Thompson (@ConnieKOMO) October 24, 2014
— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) October 24, 2014
This was the second shooting at a school in the region this year. In June, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, killing one person and injuring three others.
The FBI said Friday it was sending personnel to the school to offer assistance to local law enforcement.
[This post has been updated with new information. First posted: 2:56 p.m. Friday.]