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Paul Lee's joyous spirit remembered

Gunman subdued after fatal shooting at Seattle Pacific University


Brian Bangerter, a Japanese language instructor at Westview High School, remembered Paul Lee’s positivity inspiring him as well as other students.

“Paul Lee was a ray of light in my classroom for three years,” Bangerter said of the 2013 graduate. “It was impossible to be around him and not feel happy. He made class fun for everyone.”

Lee, 19, was shot and killed on the Seattle Pacific University campus in Seattle on Thursday afternoon, June 5.

Albert Lee, Lee’s older brother, said in a Facebook post that he felt “a level of loss, grief and pain we couldn’t have ever imagined ... At this moment all we can ask is to continue to remember Paul and all he has left behind for us.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Friday identified the victim of the apparently random shooting as Paul Lee. Westview Principal Mike Chamberlain told Maureen Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the Beaverton School District, that the victim graduated from the school one year ago.

“He’s been with us since second grade,” Wheeler said of Lee, who was a freshman at Seattle-Pacific when he was gunned down. “He attended Bethany Elementary and Stoller Middle School and graduated from Westview last June. Our deepest sympathies are with the family.”

Two other shooting victims, 19-year-old Sarah Williams and a 24-year-old student, were hospitalized for their wounds. A fourth victim was treated and released from the hospital by Friday, when Williams was listed in critical but stable condition as well as the other student, who was not identified.

Police said 26-year-old Aaron Rey Ybarra began shooting at students and others on the Seattle campus around 3:23 p.m., June 5. He went to Otto Miller Hall and fired several rounds from a shotgun, hitting four people.

As he was reloading, Jon Meis, a desk lobby monitor in the hall, blasted Ybarra with pepper spray and tackled him, gripping him in a choke hold until several bystanders seized him.

Police said Ybarra was also carrying a knife and additional ammunition.

Officers arrived within four minutes of the first report of the shooting and called for medics, who arrived on scene and began transporting their first patient less than 10 minutes after the first 911 call.

Ybarra was in custody in King County Jail as detectives investigated the shooting.

Dean Christiansen, pastor of Village Baptist Church in Beaverton, where Lee’s family attended, said one of the church’s pastors is working with the family, who traveled to Seattle, according to KOIN-6, a Pamplin Media Group news partner.

“My absolute favorite thing to do is dancing,” Lee wrote in a post during his senior year. “It relieves stress and brings joy in my life.” He went on to explain he wanted to choose counseling as a career path.

Justin Kwan and Nathan Han, both juniors at Westview High, recalled Lee as someone who loved to dance.

“I was scrolling through my Instragram feed and one of my friends posted a picture of Paul Lee, and in the description it says, ‘Rest in Peace,’” Kwan said. “I never would have expected this to be him.”

Lee’s teacher Bangerter said the student will not be forgotten by Westview faculty and students.

“His laugh and smile were both contagious,” he said. “Everyone who knew him felt close to him. He will always be remembered for his infectious positive attitude. I know I will never forget him.”

Lee’s killing was followed on Tuesday morning by the fatal shooting of Emilio Hoffman, a 14-year-old freshman at Reynolds High School in Troutdale. The gunman, identified Wednesday as Jared Michael Padgett, 15, a Reynolds freshman, was found dead in the school’s locker room.

In an essay Lee wrote as part of a senior inquiry to Portland State University last year, Lee said he wanted to “help carry people’s burdens so that there may be more joy in that person’s life.

“I understand that I am still young, but for now I feel like this is one of the two things I want to be when I grow up.”

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