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Suspect in deadly Seattle college shooting spree to mount insanity defense

By Reuters
Monday, June 23, 2014 14:52 EDT
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SEATTLE (Reuters) – A man charged with murder in a shooting spree at a small Christian college in Seattle intends to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyer said at a court appearance by the suspect on Monday.

Aaron Ybarra, 26, has been charged with one-count of first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree attempted murder in the rampage earlier this month at Seattle Pacific University that left one student dead and several other people injured.

Prosecutors on Monday filed an additional charge of second-degree assault accusing Ybarra of pointing his weapon at yet another victim in a failed attempt to shoot that person.

His lawyers have said Ybarra suffers from “significant and long-standing mental health issues” that were a factor in the shootings.

Ybarra is accused of walking into an academic building of the campus on June 5 armed with a double-barreled shotgun and opening fire on several people. When he paused to reload, police said, a student security officer doused him with pepper spray and tackled him, as several bystanders jumped in to help, seizing the gun.

Student Paul Lee, who was shot in the back of the head at close range, died. A second man suffered pellet wounds while a third was treated for minor injuries suffered in the scuffle with the suspect, police said.

Prosecutors have previously said in court documents that Ybarra confessed to police detectives that he was the gunman and that he had been planning a mass shooting in which he wanted to kill as many people as possible before commiting suicide.

(Reporting by Jimmy Lovaas in Seattle; Writing by Steve Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Trott)

[Gavel via Shutterstock]

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