Marysville in Mourning

Polly Mosendz
Marysville in Mourning

On Friday, Jaylen Fryberg, a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School (MPHS) in Washington, opened fire in the cafeteria, shooting five students before killing himself. A popular football player, Fryberg targeted friends and family, reportedly using his father's Beretta .40-caliber handgun.

“We heard loud and clear from our students that they wanted to get back to school, be with their friends, grieve together and move forward.”

Witnesses said he first took the life of Zoe Galasso, 14, who was reportedly dating one of his cousins after she declined his romantic advances. She died at the scene. He also shot friend Gia Soriano, 14, who died in the hospital late Sunday evening. Soriano's family told CNN: "We are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Gia is our beautiful daughter and words cannot express how much we will miss her."

The other victims were Andrew Fryberg, 15, Nate Hatch, 14, and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, all of whom remain hospitalized. Both Fryberg and Hatch, who is recovering, were the gunman's cousins. "Only God knows what escalated this. Only God knows," Hatch's grandfather told Komo News. He noted how close the boys were, friends since childhood, and dismissed the possibility of bullying as a motive. "Nobody pushed a button with bullying. It's just something that happened, and we don't know why."

Seventy-two hours since the killings, the school district held a moment of silence on Monday. The 21 schools that opened saw "very strong attendance numbers," about 97 percent, though MPHS will remain closed for "at least the next week," spokesperson Aaron Toso said.

“We heard loud and clear from our students that they wanted to get back to school, be with their friends, grieve together and move forward,” District Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg said in a statement. “That said, each family will make a personal judgment about what their student needs to transition to our new normal.”

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/10/marysville-mourns/381980/