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Could Marysville-Pilchuck High School Have Prevented Last Year's Deadly Shooting?

Paula Wissel
One of signs on memorial fence outside Marysville-Pilchuck High School in October, 2014.

Could Marysville-Pilchuck High School have done more to prevent the deadly shooting there last year? The attorney representing the victim's families says it's possible. 

Ann Deutscher, with Dore Deutscher, is seeking records from the Marysville School District that Deutscher says could answer the question. It was a year ago this October, that 15-year old Jaylen Fryberg killed four of his friends and wounded another before turning the gun on himself in the school cafeteria.Standing in the rotunda of the Regional Justice Center in Kent, Deutscher, who was there for another case,  told reporters that the families of the Marysville-Pilchuck victims want to know, for example, about a fight JaylenFryberg was allegedly involved in in the days before the shooting.

“We aren’t sure if he was suspended or not suspended. It looks like he may not have been, or maybe for a brief period of time, and yet was allowed to become homecoming prince,” Deutscher said.

Deutscher says it “defies common sense” that there wouldn’t be  some warning signs before a deadly shooting like the one perpetrated by Jaylen Fryberg.

Among other things, Deutscher says the families are asking for records of the school’s disciplinary and anti-bullying policies to see if they were followed. The families have not yet filed a lawsuit. Deutscher says they are waiting to get all of the information about the shooting before deciding whether to sue.  

Deutscher and the families had expected the Monday release of more than 1,000 pages police documents in the case.

But, a judge in Snohomish County delayed the release after a last minute lawsuit from Jaylen Fryberg's former girlfriend sought the delay. She argued the documents contain sensitive text messages from her that should be kept private.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard Okrent will allow some documents not related to the texts to be released Tuesday, September 1. And, he will hold another hearing on Thursday, September 3, to again consider the records in dispute.

The school shooting took place last October. Killed were Gia Soriano, Zoe Galasso, Andrew Fryberg and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit. Injured was Nate Hatch. Jaylen Fryberg also shot and killed himself.

Jaylen Fryberg's father, Raymond Lee Fryberg, Jr. has been charged in U.S. District Court with illegally possessing the gun used in the shooting.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.