By Manuel Valdes Associated Press
SEATTLE — Thousands of dollars are being donated to honor the student credited with thwarting a shooting at a small Seattle university.
Jon Meis and other students stopped the gunman Thursday at Seattle Pacific University. Meis has been credited with pepper-spraying and pinning the gunman while he was reloading his shotgun in the lobby of the building where the shooting happened.
Soon after Meis was identified, praise began to pour out on social media sites. Someone found Meis’ wedding registry, and people quickly bought out most of the wish list.
That’s when ESPN sports radio producer Jessamyn McIntyre got the idea to begin a GoFundMe site for Meis and his fiancee’s honeymoon and future. The site quickly went viral.
According to the page’s statistics, over $26,000 from more than 830 donations has been raised as of Saturday afternoon — tallies that are expected to increase.
McIntyre said she hasn’t had direct contact with the Meis family, who has asked for privacy. But she has left them her contact information. She also contacted university officials. She will leave the fundraising page up for a week, unless the family asks her to take it down.
On the donations page, people continue praising Meis. One person posted, “Only one word needed: Inspiring,” to go with a $20 donation.
A 26-year-old suspect was charged after the shooting that left a 19-year-old man dead and two other young people wounded. The quick action by Meis likely saved lives, police said.
Another solemn fundraiser has also been launched to cover the funeral costs of Paul Lee, the 19-year-old student from Portland, Oregon, killed in the shooting.
Seattle Pacific University alumnus Michael Hasegawa-Yun started the page on GiveForward.com and quickly surpassed the original $5,000 goal. The site had raised more than $6,000 by Saturday afternoon. He says he’ll expand the fundraising to also financially help the student who remains in the hospital.
“I just felt like I wanted to help out,” Hasegawa-Yun said, adding that he hasn’t had direct contact with Lee’s family yet, but one of his friends does. “I just figured they wanted their privacy.”