After the tragic shooting at Seattle Pacific University last Thursday, June 5th, the student hero who stopped the shooter, Jon Meis, has received an outpouring of generous donations. However, the hero of the SPU shooting has also been struggling with his new status, as he also grieves the incident himself.
Meis acquired his status as a hero last week, when Aaron Ybarra allegedly walked into the school’s Otto Miller Hall, shot and injured several students – killing one – and was attempting to reload when Meis tackled him and held him down until police arrived. At the time, Meis was working as the building monitor at Otto Miller Hall.
In the hours and days that followed the incident, the public learned Meis’ name and also the fact that he was engaged to be married to Kaylie Sparks on June 21st. Someone leaked his and his fiancée’s Target and Crate & Barrel wedding registries, and by noon on Friday, June 6th, the Crate & Barrel registry was almost completely bought out (the Target registry still has a couple of things available for purchase). After that, Seattle ESPN Producer Jessamyn McIntyre set up a GoFundMe campaign to thank and recognize Meis for his heroic actions.
The campaign raised $50,325 in just two days, from 1,684 contributors. Donations were disabled this morning (Monday, June 9th), after Jon Meis released an official statement, in which he requested that all future donations be given to the victims through Seattle Pacific University’s “Rise Above Fund”.
“As I try to return to a normal life in the aftermath of this horrible event, I pray above all things for strength for the victims and their families,” Meis said in the statement. “I know that I am being hailed as a hero, and as many people have suggested I find this hard to accept … However, what I find most difficult about this situation is the devastating reality that a hero cannot come without tragedy. In the midst of this attention, we cannot ignore that a life was taken from us, ruthlessly and without justification or cause. Others were badly injured, and many more will carry this event with them the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, I would encourage that hate be met with love. When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man.”
A GiveForward campaign has been started to cover the funeral costs of Paul Lee, the 19-year-old student who was killed in Thursday’s shooting. SPU alumnus Michael Hasegawa-Yun started the page to help as best he could. “I just felt like I wanted to help out,” Hasegawa-Yun said to the Associated Press. He has not yet had contact with Lee’s family. “I just figured they wanted their privacy.”
As of 3 p.m. on Monday, june 9th, Paul Lee’s GiveForward campaign had reached $15,576 in donations from 289 people. GoFundMe campaigns have also been created for Sarah Williams and Thomas Fowler, two other victims of the shooting who were injured. Sarah’s fund has raised nearly $3,500 and Thomas’ has raised $110.
Click here to donate to the general SPU “Rise Above” fund for the victims, their families, and the SPU community as it recovers from this tragic event. Click here for recovery information for the SPU community.
Featured photo from KING5.com.