Authorities struggle to pinpoint the motives of a high school student in Washington State who opened fire in a cafeteria at lunchtime, shooting five people in the head, one fatally, before killing himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A high school student in Washington State who opened fire in a cafeteria at lunchtime, shooting five people in the head, one fatally, before killing himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had recently been crowned freshman homecoming prince.
Two law enforcement sources identified the gunman as Jaylen Ray Fryberg, a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School, north of Everett. Jaylen pulled out a small handgun and opened fire on a table full of students, killing a girl and wounding four other people, three of them critically, police and witnesses said.
Fryberg was a member of a prominent family from the nearby Tulalip Indian tribe and a freshman who played on the high school football team.
Classmates said that Fryberg had recently gotten into an argument with another student that had racial overtones, and law enforcement sources said he may have been in recent disputes over a girl. In posts on Twitter, Fryberg seemed heartbroken over a breakup.
Fryberg’s social media accounts include photos of him wearing traditional Native American dress and making numerous references to the Tulalip Tribes and hunting.
A law enforcement source said that the gunman Friday used a small pistol. Doug Dawson, special agent in charge of the Seattle office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the weapon was legally acquired.
Fryberg had a very active Twitter account that included many tweets and photos referring to a girl he
was dating. But on July 20, he stopped tweeting for more than a month, resuming in late August with a series of heartbroken tweets.
Students said the gunman was staring at his victims as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Three of the victims had head wounds and were in critical condition. Two unidentified young women were at Providence Everett Medical Center, and 15-year-old Andrew Fryberg was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Another victim, 14-year-old Nate Hatch, was listed in serious condition at Harborview, the hospital said.
The last school shooting incident in the region to occur was June 5 at Seattle Pacific University, where a gunman killed one student and wounded two others.