3 remain in critical condition after Marysville school shooting

MARYSVILLE — Four children, two girls and two boys, are fighting for their lives.

There will be a funeral for Zoe Raine Galasso, 14.

There will be one for Jaylen Fryberg, also 14, the popular freshman who killed her, shot four others in the head, then killed himself with a .40-caliber handgun in a Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria Friday morning.

The grieving has only started. So has the search for reasons, for ways to help, for a path through the sorrow.

Social media is replete with theories, reflected in reports around the world: It was over a girl, over being bullied, over something else.

Answers always come in weeks, months, years.

For now, there is a chain link fence woven with flowers. It’s in front of the school, and came alive with bundles of roses in red and white — the colors of Marysville Pilchuck High School — carnations and baby’s breath and as much prayers as flowers. There was a blue stuffed rabbit and a little red peace sign, and red balloons with messages for the wounded. We love you. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit. Gia Soriano. Andrew Fryberg. Nate Hatch.

And at the end of the row: Zoe Galasso will be missed.

Many looked beyond the flowers, beyond the fence, and considered the school. A Snohomish mother brought her son, an 8th grader, to show him that tragedies can happen close to home. Michael Urbina, a 2007 MPHS graduate, stood there for several minutes, reflecting on how he always felt safe when he was there.

“I had to try to explain to my 4-year-old,” who lives near the school, Urbina said. “She wanted to know, ‘Daddy, why are people shooting each other.’ I had to say, ‘I don’t know. No one knows.’”

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, three of the teens, Shay, 14, Gia, 14, and Andrew, 15, were reported in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head. Nate, 14, was listed in serious condition with a jaw injury but was improving.

Zoe’s family and friends are mourning her death, and an online campaign to raise money for her funeral exceeded its $10,000 goal by 5 p.m.

While Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring urged this community of 60,000 to come together, investigators have begun the agonizing process of puzzling out what happened.

By Saturday, police had interviewed more than 100 students who witnessed the violence. No additional information was provided on a motive.

Early Saturday, the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team turned control of the campus back to Marysville police. Security staff let parents retrieve students’ backpacks from the school, resulting in a line of cars that stretched along 108th Street NE.

Officials also have confirmed that a first-year teacher, Megan Silberberger, attempted to stop the shooter. Details about the attempted intervention are part of what investigators are trying to determine.

In a statement, Silberberger said she is grateful for the support she has received but is asking for privacy for her family, as well.

The school district plans a community meeting in the high school gym at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Parents and students are asked to come to “talk about what happened Friday and think together about how our community will begin to heal from this tragic event,” according to a district news release. Counselors will be available for anyone who needs it. Part of the meeting will be for families only.

A public event also is planned for noon Sunday at Rhodes River Ranch in Oso. People will make cards and write notes for those affected by the shooting.

Those who suffered loss and trauma earlier this year in the Oso mudslide remember getting cards and notes. “It meant a lot to me when I needed it, so we are going to make a bunch for the community,” said Elaine Young, who lost neighbors and half of her house.

She hopes it will be “therapeutic for us to be able to give back as much as possible,” she said.

The American Red Cross, the Volunteers of America, Compass Health and other groups have deployed mental-health professionals to Marysville.

Many of those working there have spent weeks and months in the Stillaguamish Valley helping others since the Oso mudslide.

The Volunteers of America Western Washington has sent the federally funded disaster outreach services team to Marysville, where they provided support at the reunification center Friday and at the campus Saturday.

“We will continue to be a presence however long the school needs us to be in the days and weeks to come,” said Pat Morris, senior director of behavioral health.

There is no normal response or reaction to what happened. The most important thing is to talk to others and share feelings, whether someone was directly affected or not, she said.

At Providence Regional Medical Center Everett , Shay and Gia’s conditions were being monitored “moment by moment,” said Dr. Joanne Roberts, the hospital’s chief medical officer.

She read a statement on behalf of Gia’s family asking for privacy and prayers.

“Our family is in shock,” it said. “We appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this tragedy. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families. Please allow us our privacy as we deal with this tragedy.”

The boys were at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Andrew was in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Nate has a gunshot wound to the jaw.

At Mountain View Presbyterian Church, about 40 people gathered for an afternoon vigil. They said prayers for students, families, school staff, emergency responders, doctors and the drivers who greeted stricken students after the shooting.

Then they sang, the lyrics a promise to keep on singing even in the worst of times. Guests wrote messages on white and red pieces of paper, which will be brought to the school. A crooked red heart, drawn by a child, had “Marysville” scribbled in the middle. Another said, “I love Marysville,” in big, sloppy letters. Others wished peace and comfort for students and their families.

Gov. Jay Inslee attended a similar gathering on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

One of the highlights of the year for the Tulalip Tribes is the annual Raising Hands gala, at which the tribes celebrate and honor organizations they have supported in the past year.

Raising Hands was held Saturday night, and the mood was somber and restrained. Those in attendance wore red and white ribbons and the traditional program of a welcome in song and video presentations was abbreviated.

When Maria Martin gave the invocation in both Lushootseed and English, she asked The Creator for blessings in these trying times. “We ask that you take care of the wounded children and their families. Bless the teachers and give them strength.”

Tulalip board treasurer Glen Gobin delivered an emotional speech asking attendees to pray and remember the role of parents in society.

Gobin referred to some signs of problems that were revealed through students’ social media. “We talk about strength of family, and never has it been so invaded by technology that should be a positive thing,” he said.

“We need to take the time to remember we’re parents and stay involved,” Gobin said. “Find ways to recognize what each of us brings to the table, and not let it be lost in what has transpired.”

People are coming together, Mayor Nehring said from his office in Marysville on Saturday afternoon.

“Our hearts are with our friends at Tulalip throughout this,” he said. People are pulling as one, to face this challenge as a community, he said.

Right now, “our main focus in all our thoughts and prayers are the kids battling for their lives in the hospital and their families and loved ones,” he said.

As Marysville wrestles with the shock of a school shooting, a common question is what can be done next. Some say immediate resources like counseling and prayer vigils are important, and others want long-term plans and places to go where ideas can be shared for preventing future violence. Some suggested public forums or an education campaign for parents and students.

Virginia Ponce De Leon, who lives near the school and walked there Saturday, wants families and communities to start acknowledging problems and seeking help. Mental health, social media and violence in schools shouldn’t be things people only talk about when the worst has happened.

“People need to come together and realize this is a tragedy and we need to stop and take care of our children,” she said.

Wendy Morgan lives next to the high school but was at work at a local laundromat when the shooting happened. Her children, one in 8th grade and one in 10th, stayed home from school Friday. The 10th grader would have been at Marysville-Pilchuck High School if he’d gone. Morgan never thought she’d be grateful her kids missed a day of classes, but she was Friday.

She tears up when she thinks of the families who lost loved ones or are waiting at the hospital. Her son and daughter knew all of the students involved, including the shooter.

“It’s horrible that this boy had this going on,” she said. “Obviously, he was suffering. He needed help. There’s three sides to every story, I think. And we don’t know his.”

Crisis line

The Volunteers of America 24-hour crisis line is open to those affected at 800-584-3578 and 425-258-4357. People also can contact those numbers to request in-person services for others they are concerned about.

The social service clearinghouse 211 is open for those with local area codes for mental-health referrals. Those outside local area codes can call 800-223-8145.

Teens and others who prefer online chatting can visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org and click “Chat now.” A teen hotline 866-833-6546 also is available 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night.

Reporter Chris Winters contributed to this story.

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