HOLDING HANDS Students at SPU grieve together after Thursdays shooting.
  • Kelly O
  • HOLDING HANDS Students at SPU grieve together after Thursday's shooting.

The family of 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra, taken into custody by police yesterday after allegedly opening fire and killing a young man at Seattle Pacific University, is cooperating with Seattle police in their investigation, according to police spokesman Drew Fowler.

Fowler believes the family is shocked by what has happened. He said that Ybarra's grandparents reportedly have been in contact with police. "They have information we need and we’re trying to get it," he said.

“We just hope he's safe,” Ambrose Ybarra, the man's father, told the Seattle Times. “It's upsetting to have these accusations thrown around. We're in emergency mode. We are trying to stay calm.”

"If he is found to be guilty, they also lost a son as well," Fowler said of Ybarra's family. "If there are mental health issues associated with this, they’re victims and they may have been struggling with this for a while. That’s speculation. It’s a tragedy for everybody. It really is."

There do appear to have been mental health issues. Once a student at Edmonds Community College, Ybarra has twice been picked up by Mountlake Terrace police, and referred for mental health evaluations, reports the Everett Herald. In the first instance, police found him intoxicated and lying in the street in October 2012. Ybarra attended Edmonds Community College from the fall of 2005 through the spring of 2010, and again in 2012, and earned a certificate in an aerospace manufacturing online program, the paper reports.

A police source tells the Seattle Times today that Ybarra was "obsessed" with the notorious Columbine school shootings, but "chose Seattle Pacific University for no particular reason to carry out his own plan to commit a mass shooting."