Schoolgirl shot by teen gunman dies

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A 14-year-old girl wounded in the Washington state high school shooting has died, raising the number of fatalities from the gun rampage to three.

Dr Joanne Roberts of Providence Regional Medical Centre Everett announced the death of Gia Soriano today.

Gia and another girl were killed in Friday’s shooting Friday by a 15-year-old boy at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, 30 miles north of Seattle. The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, from a prominent Tulalip Indian tribes family, died of a self-inflicted wound.

Three other students remain in hospital, two critical and one in a serious condition.

Dr Roberts read a statement from Gia’s family, which said: “We are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Gia is our beautiful daughter and words cannot express how much we will miss her.”

Her family said it would donate her organs for transplant.

Yesterday parents and pupils gathered in a gymnasium at the school for a community meeting, with speakers urging support and prayers and tribal members playing drums and singing songs.

Young people hugged each other and cried and speakers urged people to come together.

“Our legs are still wobbly,” said Tony Hatch, a cousin of one of the injured students. “We’re really damaged right now.”

Of the wounded students, only Nate Hatch, 14, showed improvement, though he remained in intensive care. Andrew Fryberg, 15, is in a critical condition. Both boys are cousins of Jaylen Fryberg.

Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, also remains critical.

Fryberg died after a first-year teacher, Megan Silberberger, intervened. It is unclear if he intentionally killed himself or if the gun went off in the struggle with Ms Silberberger.

The makeshift memorial on a chain-link fence by the school, which will be closed this week, kept growing. Balloons honouring the victims and the shooter adorned the fence along with flowers, stuffed toys and signs.

The close-knit community, meanwhile, on the nearby Tulalip reservation struggled with the news that Fryberg was a popular teenager from one of their more well-known families.

A tribal guidance counsellor said no one knew what motivated him. “We can’t answer that question,” said Matt Remle, who has an office at the high school. “But we try to make sense of the senselessness.”

Mr Remel said he knew Fryberg and the other students well. “My office has been a comfort space for Native students,” he said. “Many will come by and have lunch there, including the kids involved in the shooting.”

They all were “really happy, smiling kids”, he said.

These factors make the shooting that much more difficult to deal with. “Maybe it would be easier if we knew the answer,” Mr Remle said. “But we may never know.”

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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