SEATTLE (Reuters) – A man armed with a shotgun opened fire on Thursday at a small Christian college in Seattle, killing one person and wounding three others before he was subdued by a group of students and arrested, Seattle police and hospital officials said.
The lone suspect entered an academic building of Seattle Pacific University in late afternoon and shot four people, then was disarmed as he paused to reload his gun and was pepper-sprayed by a student security guard, police said.
“Other students jumped on top of them, and they were able to pin the shooter to the ground until police arrived” minutes later, police Captain Chris Fowler told reporters at the scene.
One eyewitness, Chris Howard, a 22-year-old junior at the university, told Reuters he was in a classroom when one of the male victims rushed in, bleeding from the neck and told students to lock the doors.
Stepping outside the classroom moments later, Howard recounted, he saw the gunman lying on the floor with the student security monitor on top of him, surrounded by bullet shells, and saw a second victim with a tourniquet tied around a bleeding arm, being assisted by another student.
Howard said he also saw a gun and a knife lying on the floor nearby, and that the suspect appeared to be in his mid-30s. He did not believe the man was a student at the college.
Police later said they were interviewing the suspect, who was not publicly identified.
A representative of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said four victims were brought to the hospital and that one, a man in his 20s, had died.
Two other men, aged 22 and 24, were listed in satisfactory condition, and a 20-year-old woman was listed as critical and undergoing surgery, the hospital official said.
Further details of the shooting in the upscale Seattle suburb of Queen Anne, a normally quiet residential neighborhood, were not immediately clear, and authorities did not offer an explanation for any motive behind the gun violence.
Another student, Blake Oliveira, 21, who was taking a physics course in Otto Miller Hall at the time, told Reuters he heard a gunshot outside the classroom, followed by the sound of running footsteps, which he presumed to be the gunman.
His professor instructed the students to stay put in the classroom, and the door was locked, Oliveira said.
The school said on its website that the campus was placed on a security lockdown as a result of the shooting. The lockdown was later lifted.
Seattle Pacific University is a Methodist liberal arts college about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Seattle’s downtown, with about 4,000 students enrolled. The college website said students are subject to disciplinary action for such behavior as extramarital sex or homosexual activity and for the possession or use of alcohol.
Thursday’s shooting came two years after another Seattle gunman killed five people and himself in a rampage that began at a cafe in the city’s University District. “Again the epidemic of gun violence has come to Seattle,” Mayor Ed Murray said at a news conference. “This is a tragic moment for Seattle, and a tragic moment for America, once again.”