Gun Violence
3:17 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

After 2 Deadly Shootings In A Week, Seattle Mayor Says 'We Must Find A Solution'

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he plans to call an emergency meeting of the Seattle City Council to discuss the “epidemic of gun violence” in the wake of two shootings that claimed three lives in the city in the past week.

“This city and this nation must address this sense of violence,” said the mayor at a Friday news conference with dozens of community leaders standing by his side. “We have to find a way to move forward.”

Sunday's Double Homicide

Ali Muhammed Brown
Credit Seattle Police Department

Seattle police are investigating two separate homicide cases. Two men, Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said, were fatally shot in the street in the 500 block of 29th Avenue South early Sunday morning.

Police have arrested one man, 26-year-old Matalepuna Malu, and are looking for a second suspect, Ali Muhammed Brown. Police said Brown, 30, is a transient who is known to frequent South King County.

The victims did not have criminal histories, police said, and the investigation is ongoing.

Shooting On The Campus Of Seattle Pacific University

The second incident occurred on Thursday on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. A shotgun-wielding man walked into Otto Miller Hall and opened fire, injuring four people, one fatally, before being subdued by a student armed with pepper spray.

Shooting suspect Aaron Ybarra, left, is led in chains to a court hearing at a King County Jail courtroom Friday, June 6, 2014, in Seattle.
Credit Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The suspected gunman, 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, is being held without bail. He is not a student at the school, police said.

The deceased victim is Paul Lee, a 19-year-old "Korean-American student with a bright future ahead of him,” the mayor said.

“I believe his parents have just arrived from Korea. He is from Portland, I believe,” he said.

'Two Vigils Too Many'

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess told the media he found himself facing a macabre conundrum Thursday night: with two recent shootings, he had to decide which prayer vigil to attend on the same night.

“I’ve been to many prayer vigils in our city, but I’ve never before had to choose,” he said. “Two vigils at the same time are two vigils too many.”

“It’s been a difficult week for this city, and I have been moved by this city’s ability to come together,” said the mayor. “But I think we’ve reached a point in this nation where we must find a solution. We have no choice.”

A Prayer For The Gunman, Praises For The Hero

As Seattle tries to move forward, the mayor urged citizens to "focus on the redemptive nature of the human spirit."

For SPU's grief-stricken students and faculty members, the healing process began on Friday with a prayer for the gunman.

“Lord, we pray for the one who today perpetrated this mindless act of violence,” said Rev. Celeste Cranston during what was the second prayer service since the tragedy. “Deal with his troubled soul. Love him in spite of his hatred. And bring him not only to justice, but to repentance and to spiritual wholeness. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”

Meantime, praise for Jon Meis, the student who managed to subdue the gunman, has been growing, among both the SPU community and the general public. 

“Anyone one of us ... could’ve been there by the door. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind at that moment to decide, ‘I’m going to go for it and take him down for everyone else’s sake,’” said Heather Young, a junior at Seattle Pacific University.

The social networking site Reddit urged users to send gifts to 22-year-old Meis, who is engaged to be married later this month. A post on the site shared the wedding registry of Meis and his fiancée with the message: “You know what to do.”