Home / National News / Washington School Shooter Had Been Expected to 'Become a Leader'


(MARYSVILLE, Wash.) — Jaylen Fryberg was not only a popular student and football player who’d just been named homecoming prince, he was expected to be a leader of his community.

Fryberg, 14, who shot five people – killing one – before killing himself inside his Washington state high school, was a member of a prominent family in the Tulalip Tribes and according to tribe member state Sen. John McCoy, he was highly regarded there.

“A lot of folks were considering him that he would move up the culture ranks and become a leader,” McCoy said. “He had that kind of charisma and raw talent.”

All of the students Fryberg shot at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on Friday were family and very close friends of the 14-year-old, McCoy said.

Lukas Thorington attends a nearby high school but said he had known the gunman since sixth grade and was shocked when he heard.

“I didn’t think he would do something like this,” Thorington, 14, said. “He had a good life. He was very well-known, popular, and I don’t know what happened.”

Two of the victims, Nate Hatch, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, are relatives of the shooter, according to Hatch’s grandfather and a source within the Tulalip Tribes.

“My grandson and the shooter were best friends,” said the boy’s grandfather, Donald Hatch. “They grew up together and did everything together.”

Andrew Fryberg underwent surgery for a head wound, said Dr. Joanne Roberts, chief medical officer at Providence Regional Medical Center. He and Hatch, who had less serious injuries, were transferred to another hospital.

Fryberg is listed in critical condition, while Hatch is in serious condition.

The other victims — Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both 14 — remained in critical condition, the hospital said in a statement Saturday.

Soriano’s family asked for privacy in a statement released through the hospital.

“Our family is in shock. 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 statement said.

The two girls’ head injuries were so severe they were not immediately identifiable, and officials met with relatives to ask about birthmarks and descriptions of their children’s clothing to help make a match.

Two other students were treated for minor injuries at the high school, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Rachel Pomeroy, a junior, said she knew the shooter and last spoke with him on Thursday.

“He was fine the day before. He was being sassy, as always, and good,” she said.

While Fryberg’s motive wasn’t immediately known, Pomeroy said he had just come off a suspension for a fight.

Fryberg is seen smiling in several pictures on his Facebook page — hunting, participating in sports and surrounded by friends.

In many ways, he appeared to be a typical teen, liking video games and counting Adele and 50 Cent among his favorite musical artists. 

His Twitter account yields some insight into what he was feeling in the days before the shooting. The messages posted to his account earlier this week were filled with angst.

On October 20, he tweeted: “Alright. You f***** got me…. That broke me.”

The next day, he wrote: “It breaks me… It actually does… I know it seems like I’m sweating it off… But I’m not.. And I never will be able to..”

Later, he added: “I should have listened…. You were right… The whole time you were right…”

Another tweet read: “If I just laid down…”

On Thursday, his final tweet read: “It won’t last…. It’ll never last.”

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