Words of praise, gifts pour in for Seattle hero who stopped campus gunman
SEATTLE — His bravery saved lives.
Jon Meis, 22, a student and building monitor at Seattle Pacific University, put his own life in danger to save others when a man with a shotgun walked into Otto Miller Hall and opened fire on Thursday.
“I know he is a quiet and smart guy,” friend Victoria Speck said Friday.
Meis confronted a man armed with a shotgun and a knife. The gunman shot three students and stopped to reload. That’s when witnesses say Meis pepper sprayed and tackled the gunman, stopping his deadly rampage.
“I was in the library when I got a text and someone told me Jon Meis tackled the shooter. Everyone was like, ‘What? Is he OK? What’s going on?'” Speck said.
Other students then jumped into help, keeping the gunman down until police arrived.
Students say Jon’s fiancé, Kaylie Sparks, was frantic, unable to reach him on the phone shortly after the shooting.
“That was really scary, they were all worried. We are all thankful for what he did,” said one student.
The engineering major was taken to Harborview Medical Center for emotional trauma and released Thursday night.
Following the shooting, news of Meis’ actions quickly spread across the shaken campus, and across the country and the world. The 22-year-old from Renton, Wash., was widely praised.
His name also quickly spread around social media.
It turned out that Meis is slated to get married within two weeks, according to marriage website Theknot.com, and strangers began buying gifts for his wedding registry.
In addition, a gofundme.com site was set up by Jessamyn McIntyre for supporters to donate and help pay the honeymoon costs of Meis and his soon-to-be wife. It can be found here.
McIntyre wrote, “On June 5th, 2014, Jon Meis successfully subdued and disarmed an active gunman on Seattle Pacific University’s campus. Seattle Police say if he didn’t take action that day, there was almost certain to be more loss of life. He and his fiance are getting married on June 21st and this page is here simply for those in the community who wish to show gratitude toward this local hero. This couple hasn’t asked for anything, but many wish to contribute to their future – here is the place to do so.”
Within hours of the fund site’s creation, donations surpassed the goal of $5,000. As of Saturday afternoon, more than $27,000 was raised.
Seattle police praised Meis’ efforts, saying unequivocally that he saved lives during a press conference following the shooting.
SPU President Daniel J. Martin, who from a different building on campus watched the episode unfold on security cameras, put it simply.
“He saved lives,” Martin said.
On Friday, he was safe with his parents at their Renton home.
“They are a very tight-knit family. They do a lot together and you always see them together and they are very active,” neighbor David Clark said.
The Meis family is asking for privacy, but say they are praying for the victims.
Friends, classmates, even strangers across the country, took to social media, applauding Meis for his bravery.
“His actions were so extremely selfless and I think that a lot more damage would have been done in if he hadn’t stepped up,” said Speck.
Jon’s wedding website says he is getting married June 21. Strangers are already buying them gifts from the wedding registry.