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Friday, June 6, 2014

Family of SPU Gunman, Who Was Twice Referred By Police For Mental Health Evaluations, Cooperating With Police

Posted by on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 12:35 PM

HOLDING HANDS Students at SPU grieve together after Thursdays shooting.
  • Kelly O
  • HOLDING HANDS Students at SPU grieve together after Thursday's shooting.

The family of 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, taken into custody by police yesterday after allegedly opening fire and killing a young man at Seattle Pacific University, is cooperating with Seattle police in their investigation, according to police spokesman Drew Fowler.

Fowler believes the family is shocked by what has happened. He said that Ybarra's grandparents reportedly have been in contact with police. "They have information we need and we’re trying to get it," he said.

“We just hope he's safe,” Ambrose Ybarra, the man's father, told the Seattle Times. “It's upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We're in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm.”

"If he is found to be guilty, they also lost a son as well," Fowler said of Ybarra's family. "If there are mental health issues associated with this, they’re victims and they may have been struggling with this for a while. That’s speculation. It’s a tragedy for everybody. It really is."

There do appear to have been mental health issues. Once a student at Edmonds Community College, Ybarra has twice been picked up by Mountlake Terrace police, and referred for mental health evaluations, reports the Everett Herald. In the first instance, police found him intoxicated and lying in the street in October 2012. Ybarra attended Edmonds Community College from the fall of 2005 through the spring of 2010, and again in 2012, and earned a certificate in an aerospace manufacturing online program, the paper reports.

A police source tells the Seattle Times today that Ybarra was "obsessed" with the notorious Columbine school shootings, but "chose Seattle Pacific University for no particular reason to carry out his own plan to commit a mass shooting."

 

Comments (27) RSS

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You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 1
Mental health people! We need better mental health care, and the mentally ill cannot be allowed to opt out. Every one of these shooters has proven to be a loon. A loon that was known to be a loon. We need to be able to institutionalize these people before they kill. Not wait until it’s too late.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 6, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
2
What I hear often is how much people refuse to seek mental treatment despite urging from friends/family, and a lot of that is because of the stigma associated with it, such as those that stem from reactionary comments like "throw them all into the bin!" Let's be a little less ostentatious in our reactions, perhaps?
Posted by themightywoozie on June 6, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 5
"and the mentally ill cannot be allowed to opt out." "We need to be able to institutionalize these people before they kill."

Who makes the decision as to mental illness? Untrained friends and family? Vengeful ex boyfriends? Some prankster who thinks its funny?

How would we implement what you're suggesting? How would we protect against such a policy being abused?
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
6
Why has the language suddenly changed to "after allegedly opening fire"? Isn't it 100% cut-and-dried that he did, in fact, open fire? He was tackled and arrested after shooting people - how can there be any doubt (it's not like he was sniping people from far away and nobody actually saw him pull the trigger - didn't he walk into a lobby, talk to some people, and then shoot them?)
Posted by YetAnotherMike on June 6, 2014 at 1:42 PM · Report this
7
Why has the language suddenly changed to "after allegedly opening fire"? Isn't it 100% cut-and-dried that he did, in fact, open fire? He was tackled and arrested after shooting people - how can there be any doubt (it's not like he was sniping people from far away and nobody actually saw him pull the trigger - didn't he walk into a lobby, talk to some people, and then shoot them?)

And, to be clear - this is a tragedy, and very sad for everyone (including the shooter). I'm just curious as to why the reporting language suddenly seems wishy-washy on what I thought was an established fact.
Posted by YetAnotherMike on June 6, 2014 at 1:46 PM · Report this
8
Mental illness is like any other illness except it effects the brain which controls our being. Calling names is not going to lead to a solution or cure. People who have Alzheimer's or dementia at times have mental illness attached. We support and seek treatment for them without cut downs. If another organ was ill we would be supportive and at times donating to help or find a cure but mental illness is cut down and ridiculed. If we truly want change let's end the stigma and be more encouraging of mental health care.

I understand the fear of being accused mentally ill. I see no harm a person having a check up. Some mental illnesses a person doesn't see in them self just as cancers can be sneaky. Remove the stigma. Mental illness is truly an illness. Nothing to be ashamed of. Treated ones quality of life improves and so do those around them.
Posted by Cheryla on June 6, 2014 at 1:49 PM · Report this
9
Mental illness is like any other illness except it effects the brain which controls our being. Calling names is not going to lead to a solution or cure. People who have Alzheimer's or dementia at times have mental illness attached. We support and seek treatment for them without cut downs. If another organ was ill we would be supportive and at times donating to help or find a cure but mental illness is cut down and ridiculed. If we truly want change let's end the stigma and be more encouraging of mental health care.

I understand the fear of being accused mentally ill. I see no harm a person having a check up. Some mental illnesses a person doesn't see in them self just as cancers can be sneaky. Remove the stigma. Mental illness is truly an illness. Nothing to be ashamed of. Treated ones quality of life improves and so do those around them.
Posted by Cheryla on June 6, 2014 at 1:52 PM · Report this
10
@6/7 My interpretation is that because Ybarra, up to this point is officially only a suspect, the "allegedly" is more in reference to Ybarra's status of "not proven guilty" than whether were there gun shots.
Posted by themightywoozie on June 6, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 11
Wow, I'm surprised the so many people are doing the right thing and saying that mental illness doesn't make people less than human. The stigma of mental illness is awful and should be done away with. Just as someone isn't less than human for having cancer, someone isn't less than human for having a mental disorder.

Hell, I'm a libertarian, but I'd be okay with the government spending more money on mental health (just take the money we waste on the war on drugs to do it instead of raising taxes)

Funny that this guy obsessed over the Columbian shooting. The only good part about that stupid Michael Moore movie was the interview with Marlyn Manson. He asked Manson what he would have said to the shooters if he could, and he answered "I wouldn't have said anything. I would have listened. And that's what no one did."
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
14
@1 I know you love being simple minded but you've got to ask yourself, what part of my comment is remotely libertarian? Because you've lost that one. Lastly before you throw everyone 'crazy' into a 'safe place' don't forgot thirty years ago that would've included gay people.
Posted by CbytheSea on June 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM · Report this
seandr 16
In a similar case from 2012, a police report said officers found Ybarrra lying in the middle of the street and said he wanted a SWAT team to get him and “make him famous.”
Posted by seandr on June 6, 2014 at 2:54 PM · Report this
17
I'd think (and this is purely conjecture on my part) a key component of better mental treatment is that we are able to provide help to people at an early/earlier stage, much like treating various injuries and diseases is more effective early rather than late.

Again, part of that is curbing the stigma behind mental illnesses so that we go seek treatment at early stages instead of "no, I'm just a little ____, I don't need a doc," with the idea being the earlier we treat patients, the less we reach a point where we need to decide if someone needs to be committed or not.
Posted by themightywoozie on June 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 18
@15

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05…

What the fuck Texas. What the fucking fuck.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 6, 2014 at 2:56 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 19
@16
And that's the bottom line NO ONE is talking about: The media makes these people superstars. Want instant fame? Just commit a mass shooting. And of course the Stranger gives the shooter exactly what he wanted.

If the major news agencies tomorrow decided to no longer give out the name or pictures of these shooters than these things would stop. Want a finger to point at in regards to gun violence, Stranger writers? Point it at yourselves. Stop making instant celebrities out of these shooters and they wont do this as often.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
20
When a family knows a family member has mental health problems, they have a moral obligation, a heavy moral responsibility to secure that relative's firearms, if they have any. Take them away. Lock them up where the troubled person can't get to them.

I know nothing about where Mr. Ybarra got his firearms or where they were kept. But I want to know, and I assume that part of the story will come out in due time.
Posted by RDPence on June 6, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
21
I find the tone of the Seattle PD to be remarkable (if we're dealing with mental health issues, the Ybarra's have lot a son as well). I'm not certain we would have heard that from a SPD briefing 5 years ago.
Posted by ProstSeattle on June 6, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
22
@20, do you mother, father, brother, sister have keys to your place? One out of the four do, and I can guarantee that they don't think there are firearms in my house when there are. Now, I'm reasonably sane (I have my moments, but you work customer service for 25 years and tell me you are 'sane' all the time). So if I lose my shit (please don't worry, I'm speaking hypothetically here, I'm fine folks) and went on a rampage, I don't think it's fair that my family is now seen as culpable. I'm just trying to illustrate how we may not all know everything about our loved ones, amd I hope you don't feel attacked by me, I just wanted to point out a differing viewpoint.
Posted by ProstSeattle on June 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
24
I wish we, as family members, could help remove guns from our loved ones who are mentally ill, but it's almost impossible to do so, with the laws as they are presently written.
A few years back I had to address the fact that my elderly father, suffering from dementia and partial BLINDNESS, was waving his guns around in the house in a very dangerous fashion. The police came but said that the guns couldn't be removed, as no laws had been broken. We later snuck his guns out and told him they had been taken to be "cleaned".

Don't know how the family members would have stopped the legal adult in this situation from owning guns.
Posted by alexandria on June 6, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
delirian 25
@9:
Nothing to be ashamed of.
...unless you live in the real world where admitting mental illness makes people think you might flip out and kill them, makes people less likely to date you, makes people less likely to rent to you, makes people less likely to hire you, and makes people suggest that you need to be locked up for the safety of society. Nothing to be worried about here.
Posted by delirian on June 6, 2014 at 4:09 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 26
@5
We managed to do it just fine until the 70s.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 6, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
delirian 27
@26: Warehouses and lobotomies. No due process.

Just out of curiosity, if you support those old methods, would you support just gassing the mentally ill? Wouldn't that be consistent with the fact that you think they are just 'defectives' who need to be removed from society and that they aren't actual human beings who have legal rights?
Posted by delirian on June 6, 2014 at 4:29 PM · Report this
venomlash 28
I cannot legally own a firearm in the State of Illinois. Why? Because I was admitted to a mental institution (briefly and officially "voluntarily"). If I want to regain eligibility for firearms ownership, I need to go before a judicial board and present evidence (probably testimony from a mental health professional) that I am not a danger to myself or others.
I believe that's as good a model as any for dealing with the intersection of mental illness and gun policy.
Posted by venomlash on June 6, 2014 at 4:35 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 29
Stunning letter to Aaron Ybarra from someone who knew him -

http://adriannaangel88.blogspot.com/2014…
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on June 6, 2014 at 4:43 PM · Report this
collectivism_sucks 31
@28
I would support that but only if they differentiated between dangerous mental disorders and non dangerous ones. Someone with a cluster A or C personality disorder, while we may be weird, aren't dangerous just because of a personality disorder. But someone with a more dangerous mental illness is.

I agree people who have a history of severe mental illness may need to be restricted from buying a gun unless they get an all clear from a doctor, but at the same tine having something like social anxiety, which is technically a mental illness, shouldn't stop someone from being able to get a hunting rifle.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on June 6, 2014 at 9:48 PM · Report this
venomlash 32
@31: Don't talk about how anxiety can't make people dangerous and unhinged. You don't know it like I do. If it's something that you arguably need to be institutionalized for, it's worth worrying about with regard to firearms.
Posted by venomlash on June 7, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
33
Some one's only sibling, both parents & remaining grandparents all die within 18 months ( natural causes, but still traumatizing). The person overwhelmed with grief is labeled as depressed and told they need medication - only medication is offered. Or medication and group therapy filled largely with confused housewives only vaguely unsure about "what's wrong". When the person insists that overwhelming grief is a normal response to what has happened, and requests grief counseling, they are told grief is not a "covered" illness and booted out the door. They commit suicide. This has happened. We need a system of health care that includes both CARE and mental health Care....
Posted by naughtynanny on June 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 34
@27
Where is your faith in Government???
Surely they could administer it all in all of our best interest.
Liberals trust it to regualte everything else, why not mental health?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on June 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this

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