Marysville Pilchuck 911 call: ‘I tried to stop him’

MARYSVILLE — The voice on the phone was frantic, but focused.

The caller was a teacher. She was in the main cafeteria at Marysville Pilchuck High School. A boy dressed in black had just shot students. He’d then turned the gun on himself.

She’d tried to stop him.

She needed help.

In a two-minute conversation with 911 made public Wednesday, teacher Megan Silberberger described for an emergency dispatcher the chaos at Marysville Pilchuck on Oct. 24.

The recording, one of more than a dozen 911 calls released Wednesday, captured the fear and confusion in the minutes after a 15-year-old student shot five friends and then himself.

The recordings were released by SNOPAC 911, the dispatch center for much of Snohomish County. The shootings are still under investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team.

An out-of-breath Silberberger was handed the phone by a boy who had already called 911. The teacher described the scene, apparently before and after the shooter killed himself.

“9-1-1, we have a shooting, Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria — the shooter — we have many injured, Marysville Pilchuck High School. We need emergency right away!” the caller said. “Cafeteria, large cafeteria! My name is Megan Silberberger, I’m a teacher. Megan Silberberger.”

“We already have the fire department and the police department en route,” the 911 operator said.

“OK, I am in the cafeteria,” Silberberger said. “I have the shooter. One shooter. Blood is everywhere. I do not see the gun. I have many down.”

“Where is the shooter?” the 911 operator asked.

“I’m looking at him. Still working. I need help. I need help now. Shooter right here. He is wearing all black. I’m staring at him right now, sitting next to him. I need staff now. Shooter right here. Black pants, black shoes. Black pants, black shoes, black jacket. He’s laying on other students. I need help.

“Down!” Silberberger yelled, apparently to somebody with her in the room.

“White male, black male, Hispanic male?” the dispatcher asked

“Hispanic male,” Silberberger said. “Hispanic male. He is a high school student. I do not know how old he is. I tried to stop him before he shot himself. I do not know his name.”

“OK, you said he has shot himself?”

“He shot himself. Many are down. I do not know how many are down.”

Killed in the shooting were Gia Soriano, Zoe Galasso and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, all 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15. All were shot in the head. Andrew Fryberg’s funeral is today; Soriano’s is Saturday. Nate Hatch, 14, was shot in the jaw. He is recovering at home.

The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, 15, died at the scene.

One of the 911 calls released Wednesday was from Sue Olson, the school’s secretary of attendance and discipline. Two girls ran into the school office, screaming about a shooting.

“I’m at Marysville Pilchuck High School, we have reports of gunfire,” Olson told the dispatcher.

As the school’s fire alarm groaned in the background, Olson said the campus was being put into lockdown.

Then: “Ambulances, ASAP!”

“Do you have reports of somebody injured?”

“We do. I just had a principal run in, saying that we need ambulances ASAP.”

The dispatcher asked for more information. “So you do have an active shooter in the school?”

“We do,” Olson answered, then corrected herself to say she didn’t have current information.

“Do you feel safe continuing to talk to me on the phone?”

“I do, I’m OK, I’m in a secured area. We have our kids in a secured area. Girls, come in here.”

Olson continued to feed the dispatcher information as she got it.

A few minutes into the call, Olson asked about medical responders. “Are they on their way?”

“Yes,” the dispatcher said.

Olson asked someone: “How many do we need? Six. Six kids.”

“Six kids total?”

“Yes, that’s our initial report,” she said. “Oh my God.”

The recordings were released in response to public records requests. More are expected to be released by week’s end. Earlier, SNOPAC released recordings of radio conversations between dispatchers and police.

A food-services worker, Anne Haughian, called 911 after rushing students out of the building. She was upset — she couldn’t find her daughter.

The dispatcher asked Haughian to describe the suspect.

He was white with a black hat, under 18, wearing a black coat. “I think he had a backpack on, but I’m not sure,” Haughian said. “It happened so fast. I’m sorry.”

After the shooting, students fleeing the cafeteria climbed fences to reach a neighborhood. A woman who lives on 54th Drive NE saw them gathered on the street and asked a girl what was happening.

“She told me someone was shooting at the school,” the neighbor said in an interview on Wednesday. She asked that her name not be published.

She asked a group of the teens where they were going. They didn’t know.

She invited them inside her home, five boys and a girl. The teens were texting with friends still inside the school. “From their conversation, I saw that all of them had witnessed it,” the neighbor said.

The woman called 911.

“I have several students at my house right now, and some of them saw the shooter. They saw it happen,” she told the dispatcher.

“Do they know where he went?” he asked.

“Do any of you know where the shooter went? No, no, they have no idea.”

“Do they know his name?”

“They know his name.”

In the background, two boys said, “Jaylen Fryberg.”

On Wednesday, the neighbor recalled that one boy in her home was a senior and the others were freshmen. She credited the senior’s maturity with keeping everyone calm.

“These were young kids, in school for about five weeks,” she said. “I could tell they wanted their family, they wanted their parents.”

“I’m so sad for everyone that this happened,” the neighbor said. “I just wanted to hug all the kids and tell them they would be OK.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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