An Enochs High School graduate who is a junior at Seattle Pacific University was in his on-campus home when Thursday’s shooting occurred less than a block away.
Connor McKay, 21, got a text message from campus officials notifying him the school was on lockdown, so he and his roommate locked the doors and drew the blinds.
“Once we heard all the sirens and the helicopters overhead, we knew it was serious,” McKay said Friday. “We’ve had lockdowns on campus before, but this is a real thing, not some drill.”
McKay and his roommate began texting with friends and learned the shooting took place in a nearby building that housed the engineering, math and science departments.
“At first, a lot of the classes thought there was an experiment going on, because it’s the science building,” McKay said he heard from friends in the building.
McKay called his mother in Modesto. “I told her pretty quick because I knew it would be on the news and if she didn’t hear it from me, she’d probably freak out 10 times more,” he said.
McKay said the school stayed on lockdown for several hours as investigators worked out confusion over a possible second shooter.
A 19-year-old man was killed and another man and woman were injured before a student security guard pepper-sprayed the suspect, Aaron Ybarra, and detained him with the help of other students until police arrived.
The victims’ identities had not been released, so McKay didn’t know Friday afternoon if he’d met any of them on the small campus of 4,200 students.
Classes were canceled Thursday night and Friday, as well as all campus events. McKay, a music major, was supposed to play trumpet in a concert that was canceled Friday night.
He said the mood on campus was “somber, but it is a Christian campus, so there are a lot of different services. I think people are dealing with it in their own way.”