“Seattle Suspect Had History of Mental Health Problems,” Attorney Says (UPDATE)


Aaron R. Ybarra, the 26-year-old gunman accused of killing one and injuring three others in a shooting at Seattle Pacific University, underwent mental health evaluations twice.

Pete Caw, the assistant police chief in the suburb of Mountlake Terrace, said that officers confronted Ybarra in 2010 and 2012. Both the times, the shooter was severely drunk and was taken to Swedish Hospital in Edmonds for evaluation, cbs news reports.

Ybarra's attorney and public defender Ramona Brandes said that his client has a history of mental health problems for which he received treatments and medications. As a result, police officials are keeping a close watch on the suspect to avert any suicide attempts in jail. He is being detained without bail at the King County Jail.

So far, Seattle police haven't found any possible connections between Ybarra , Seattle Pacific University or any of the victims.

According to a court document, Ybarra admitted to detectives that he wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself. However, John Meis, a 22-year-old engineering student pepper-sprayed and restrained the gunman, preventing further carnage.

Police officials said that they confiscated 50 additional shotgun shells and a hunting knife from the shooter.

Roman Kukhotskiy, a 22-year-old student who was present at the time of shooting rampage, was grateful for Meis' heroic actions. Kukhotskiy said that Meis is getting married this summer and has accepted a job with Boeing Co.

"I was amazed that he was willing to risk all that for us," Kukhotskiy said. "If Jon didn't stop him, what's to say? I could have been the next victim," WNEM reports.

Even though Kukhotskiy's life was saved, Paul Lee, who sustained critical injuries in the shooting, was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray described Lee, as a  "Korean-American student with a bright future."

Ybarra's family was shocked and hurt by the shootings.

"We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people," the family said. "To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you."

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