After a long and contentious legal battle, a new video was released on Tuesday showing a student at Seattle Pacific University heroically taking down a killer who had opened fire in an incident that resulted in one student being killed and two others injured.
The video, released by the King County Prosecutor’s Office, shows the brave act of student-safety monitor Jon Meis blasting the criminal, identified by police as Aaron Ybarra, with pepper spray while almost simultaneously wrestling the man to the ground and disarming the killer who appears to be reloading the weapon.
The Seattle Times breaks down the two-year long legal battle to release the video of the incident that took place in 2014.
Victims of the shooting as well as the university had tried to block the city from releasing the videos. Media outlets, including The Times, sought the videos under the state’s Public Records Act.
Attorney Brad Thoreson, representing the victims, argued that release of the video violates victims’ privacy rights and could inspire a copycat school shooter. The video shows the gunman shooting students and pointing a firearm at others.
Attorney Michael R. McKinstry, representing the university, called the shooting a “terrorist” act and said the video’s release would give other criminals clues as to the capabilities of school–surveillance systems.
A month after the shooting, a King County Superior Court commissioner issued a restraining order barring local media outlets from obtaining a copy of the surveillance video, accusing the city’s four TV news stations of seeking the graphic video to boost ratings. However, that ruling was overturned by an appellate court.
The Times reports that Ybarra had a long history of mental illness and had told police that he had gone off his meds.