Seattle Police say the quick actions of a volunteer building monitor likely saved lives at Seattle Pacific University Thursday afternoon when a gunman walked in and started firing.
Jon Meis was sitting at his monitor’s desk in Otto Miller Hall when the shooter opened fire.
He waited for his opportunity and then jumped in without hesitation.
“A student monitor, who works inside of that facility observed the suspect reloading the shotgun and was able to stop the individual at that point,” reported Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler on Thursday.
Meis, 22, a dean’s list electrical engineering student, grabbed the pepper spray that friends say he always carried, and sprayed the shooter before tackling him.
Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Friday Meis was emotionally anguished but not injured in the shooting. He was treated and released from the hospital.
Professor Kevin Bolding was inside Otto Miller Hall at the time of the shooting and told KING 5 that Meis saved a lot of people. “I called 911, then there was another shot inside the building. And I looked out of my office and saw one of my students sitting on top of someone, and a big pile of shell casings.”
Other students then jumped on top of Meis and the suspect, and they were able to pin the shooter to the ground until police arrived.
“I’m proud of the selfless actions that my roommate, Jon Meis, showed today taking down the shooter,” fellow student Matt Garcia wrote on Twitter. “He is a hero.”
The Seattle Times reports Meis likes to run, is getting married this summer and is wrapping up an internship at the Boeing plant in Renton. Friends describe him as a person of deep faith.
Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said there is no doubt he saved lives. “A regular citizen stepped up and tried to do that right thing, and in this case I believe they prevented a more horrible tragedy than it was.”
McDonagh said that while a lot of attention will be paid to the shooting suspect and why he did what he did, the public should spend more time thinking about the students like Meis, who risked their lives to save others.
“The actions of the (suspect) in this case do not define Seattle Pacific University, nor the City of Seattle,” said McDonagh. “The actions of the students and staff on site – those are the things that define Seattle Pacific University.”
Meis kept a low profile the day after the shooting. An outgoing voice message at a phone listing for his parents’ home in Renton said, “We ask that you please respect our privacy during this time while we recover.” It solicited prayers for students and the family of the man killed.
In an email to the AP, Garcia declined to comment Friday out of respect for his roommate’s privacy.
Another roommate, Ryan Salgado, told the Times that Meis seemed to be in shock afterward.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.