When a gunman invaded Seattle Pacific University’s normal peace and quiet on campus last month, an engineering student named Jon Meis quickly disregarded his own personal safety to bring a stop to the horror. Meis was present in one of the campus buildings on June 5 when gun-toting Aaron Ybarra suddenly began shooting. Ybarra was able to kill at least one student and cause serious injuries to two others before he stopped shooting long enough to reload his shotgun. That’s when Meis went into action.
Meis used pepper spray on the alleged gunman prior to physically tackling him in order to stop the carnage. The SPU senior graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, and received a special surprise and honor during graduation ceremonies which took place on the campus in Seattle. SPU President Daniel Martin announced to gathered seniors, family members and friends that the University had decided to create a scholarship to honor Meis’ heroic actions in early June that helped curtail a growing tragedy before it became much worse.
In making his announcement to the 2014 SPU graduating class, Martin praised Meis’ brave response when confronted by the gunman, calling his actions quick thinking and selfless. He said that University officials decided to establish a scholarship which will benefit a future electrical engineering students and name it in honor of Meis and his heroic actions. The crowd at the graduation event gave Meis not just one but two standing ovations, heartily endorsing Martin’s good news about the establishment of the new scholarship program.
Every student in the graduating class of 2014, including Jon Meis, wore a special ribbon to commemorate the three victims of the tragic shooting, including classmate Paul Lee, who succumbed to his injuries. Paul Lee was just starting his studies at the Christian University and was a member of the freshman SPU class.
Aaron Ybarra, who was arrested at the scene thanks to Jon Meis’ bravery and quick action, has been charged with murder and is currently being held without bail prior to facing a jury trail for his actions. Although Meis did not make any public comments during the graduation ceremony, the commencement speaker, Marian Wright Edelman, singled him out during his comments to the graduating seniors, saying that he joined everyone else on the campus in expressing his gratitude and admiration that a student like John Meis exhibited quick thinking and bravery to help put an end to a tragedy that was unfolding on campus. Local law enforcement officials say that Ybarra would have likely been able to kill more people had he not been stopped so swiftly by Meis’ intervention.