Seattle Pacific University Hero: “God’s Grace” Saved Lives

Ephesians 4:7 Christ gave each one of us the special gift of grace, showing how generous he is.

The 22-year-old engineering student who disarmed a gunman bent on mass killing at Seattle Pacific University has broken his silence after the event, saying that God’s grace is what saved the lives of others.

Jon Meis, a building monitor at the Christian university, pepper-sprayed and then tackled 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra as he was reloading.  Other students then held down Ybarra, who was not a student at the school, until police arrived on the scene.  Police said that the gunman had a significant amount of ammunition on him and likely would have killed and wounded dozens more without Meis’ heroic actions.

“He was hellbent on killing a lot of people today,” an officer told the Seattle Times.

Meis, who had been avoiding the spotlight after the incident, finally released a statement to the press.

“I know that I am being hailed as a hero, and as many people have suggested, I find this hard to accept,” Meis wrote. “I am indeed a quiet and private individual; while I have imagined what it would be like to save a life, I never believed I would be put in such a situation. It has been deeply touching to read the comments online and realize that my actions have had such a strikingly widespread effect.”

“[W]hat I find most difficult about this situation is the devastating reality that a hero cannot come without tragedy,” Meis continued. “In the midst of this attention, we cannot ignore that a life was taken from us, ruthlessly and without justification or cause. Others were badly injured, and many more will carry this event with them the rest of their lives.”

Police say the gunman Ybarra has a history of mental illness and has been on suicide watch since the incident.  Meis has called for the community to respond to the gunman in a spirit of love.

“When I came face to face with the attacker, God gave me the eyes to see that he was not a faceless monster, but a very sad and troubled young man. While I cannot at this time find it within me to forgive his crime, I truly desire that he will find the grace of God and the forgiveness of our community.”

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