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Seattle Pacific University victim on being shot: ‘It felt really hot, like a surge of energy’

SEATTLE  — One of the victims wounded in the SPU shooting in 2014 says she called her mom to tell her she loved her because she didn’t know if she was going to make it.

The bullet entered Sarah William’s chest and exited her arm.

“It felt really hot, like a surge of energy pushed my body backwards,” Williams said.

On Wednesday, jurors saw a graphic surveillance video of the shooting from June 5, 2014. It shows Aaron Ybarra walking into the university's Otto Miller Hall with a long rifle.

He points the gun at a male student sitting at a table in the lobby area. The student says Ybarra told him not to disrespect him, that he had just shot and killed a person outside. That student says he nodded at Ybarra, who then turned the gun on Williams after she walked down the stairs to the lobby.

“I couldn’t feel my right arm," Williams told jurors Wednesday. "I couldn’t move. I felt that my shirt was wet and I was covered in blood.”

As Williams stumbled backwards, hiding from the gunman, student Jon Meis comes around the corner and fights back. As Ybarra reloads, Meis pepper sprays Ybarra and wrestles the gun away.

After removing the shotgun, Meis runs back to tackle the shooter again. That is when student Justin Serra joins to help.

“He had a knife in his belt, I took that away. Jon still has arms around him, holding him there. I have his knees. Prior to that I didn’t know Jon,  he was a white as paper,” Serra said.

Prosecutors credit the two students for saving countless lives.  But the gunman killed 19-year-old student Paul Lee, who was walking into Otto Miller Hall.

First responders and campus security who first arrived to help Lee says the 19-year-old was still alive.

“ He had lost a large amount of blood, I found an erratic pulse,” Campus Security Supervisor Clinton Brumit said.

Brumit rushed to find other victims when police arrived. Officer Ricardo Martinez described the chaotic scene, saying he was trying to tend to Lee all the while not knowing where the gunman was.

"He was in pretty bad shape," Martinez said of Lee.

Prosecutors say Ybarra gunned down strangers out of pure hate, that it was a way for him to feel powerful, something that was missing in his life.

“He said he started losing compassion for people about a year ago,” one officer said.

On the stand, officers who arrested Ybarra described him as calm and responsive to their questions.

“He said he [has] psychosis and he didn’t take his medication,” one officer said.

During cross-examination, the defense pressed officers about their conversation asking them if Ybarra told them he couldn’t tell if the shooting was real. The defense claims Ybarra is mentally ill.

But the prosecution has a different theory; they say Ybarra did not have a psychotic episode or showed any signs of hallucinations immediately after his arrest. They say Ybarra knew what he was doing was both morally and legally wrong.

They point to Ybarra’s extensive efforts before the shooting. He toured the campus weeks before the attack, even canvassing the private college the day before.

Officers say Ybarra also admitted to touring the University of Washington campus, but then settled on SPU.