Rogue Valley students at Seattle Pacific express shock, sadness at shootings
SEATTLE — Terror swept across the Seattle Pacific University campus today after a lone gunman killed one student and wounded at least two others in Otto Miller Hall before being subdued by a student and bystanders.
One of the victims, a young man who was taken to Harborview Medical Center, was pronounced dead, according to the hospital. Another, a 20-year-old woman, was in critical condition and in surgery. Two others, men ages 22 and 24, were in satisfactory condition; one had gunshot wounds and the other was not shot, but the nature of his injuries was unclear.
“It’s just something you never expected to happen here,” said Ryan Alcantara, a junior human biology major from Medford who was in the building for class this morning.
Seattle police arrested the gunman, described as a young man armed with a shotgun and handgun. Police said the gunman walked into the foyer of Otto Miller Hall, a math and science building, at 3:30 p.m. and shot three people.
Seattle police Capt. Chris Fowler said a student, who is a building monitor, subdued the gunman as he stopped to reload.
Other students then helped hold the man down until police arrived, Fowler said.
Eric Morse, a sophomore cross-cultural ministry major from Central Point, was in class just down Nickerson Street when students began receiving texts.
“It’s really hard to consider something like this happening here,” Morse said. “It’s hard to comprehend situations like this until it happens to you. It’s a surreal feeling, this is really happening and happening to us. There is nervousness, anxiety, fear and doubt once you realize the threat is real and on the front door.”
“The campus is small, and being a third-year student, I know 80 percent of the people I see every day, whether it is intramurals, competing in athletics or in class,” Alcantara said. “It’s just hard to imagine.”
Three of his housemates were in Otto Miller during the lockdown, not far from where the shooting occurred.
“The first thing I did was call my girlfriend, she happened to be at work,” Alcantara said. “For many people, this was the last day of classes before finals. I don’t see how people can sit down and focus. Especially with the weekend coming up, this is something that’s going to be on everyone’s mind.”
Even though Morse was locked in a class in a different building, the confusion outside and police searching for what they thought might be a second shooter created stress and tension in his classroom.
“Our building is a block away, but some people were emotional wrecks,” Morse said. “Luckily, other people were able to calm them down. This is definitely something that’s going to hinder the capacity to focus and finish the year out.”
At least some of the victims reportedly were seniors, making it all the more sad.
“It’s the last week of school, graduation is in a week and a half,” Morse said. “These were seniors ready to move on with their lives. It’s devastating to see people ready to accomplish a life goal and now they’re in a critical situation.”
James Olsen, a senior music performance major from Jacksonville, was delivering job applications off campus when he heard about the shootings.
“I got a phone call from my aunt asking if I was all right,” he said. “The thing people need to realize is this can happen anywhere. They need to realize no one is safe.”
— Greg Stiles and The Associated Press