SEATTLE - Police say the suspect in a shooting at a small Seattle university wanted to kill as many people as possible before killing himself.
A judge found probable cause to hold 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra without bail Friday. The hearing came a day after Ybarra was arrested in the shooting that killed student Paul Lee and wounded two other young people at Seattle Pacific University.
Ybarra was quiet and showed no emotion during his court appearance Friday. He is being held in solitary confinement and is on suicide watch in jail. He wore a tear-away smock, so he cannot use it to hang himself.
In a statement filed in court, Seattle police wrote that Ybarra admitted to detectives after his arrest that he wanted to kill as many people as possible and then himself.
Instead, police say a student building monitor pepper-sprayed and tackled Ybarra as he reloaded his shotgun. When other students pinned him to the ground until officers arrived, he asked them to let him loose so he could slit his own throat.
Ybarra, a former Edmonds Community College student, has no violent history, but did have issues with alcohol resulting in a DUI in 2012. He's had two incidents with police in his hometown of Mountlake Terrace: one in 2010 when he was intoxicated and indicated he wanted to kill himself, another in 2012 when he was so drunk, police found him lying in the middle of the road. At that time, he told police he wanted a SWAT team to "make him famous." In both cases, he was involuntarily committed for mental health evaluations. He did complete alcohol treatment and by accounts was doing well until Thursday's shooting.
During Friday's court proceedings, public defender Ramona Brandes said Ybarra was in a "delusional state" when he started shooting, and is just now realizing the suffering of the victims and their families and is "sorry for their pain."
"Yesterday, delusions were part of his mental illness that were manifesting. At some point, he became aware there was a difference between what he thought was happening and reality, and he feels like he's cognizant now of what happened in a way that he wasn't when it was going on," said Brandes, Ybarra's attorney.
The family of Aaron Ybarra issued a short statement on Friday:
We are so very shocked and sad over yesterday's shootings at SPU. We are crushed at the amount of pain caused to so many people. To the victims and their families, our prayers are with you.
KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.