For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. — 2 Corinthians 4:6
On the afternoon of June 5, 2014, a young man with a shotgun assaulted students outside and inside Seattle Pacific University’s Otto Miller Hall. The gunman, who had no connection to SPU, injured three students before Jon Meis, a senior electrical engineering major, disarmed him. Other students helped hold the man down, and students and SPU security officers assisted the victims until the Seattle police arrived a few minutes later.
The injured students were rushed to Harborview
Medical Center. Thomas Fowler, a senior
physics major, and Sarah Williams, a sophomore
sociology major, were treated and eventually
released from the hospital. Another student,
Paul Lee, a 19-year-old freshman from Beaverton,
Oregon, died that day.
By the time campus lockdown was lifted,
around 5 p.m., students, faculty, and staff had
begun to gather in small groups to pray and care
for those around them. At a 7 p.m. prayer service
in First Free Methodist Church, the SPU community
began a journey together through grief, hope,
and the promise of healing.
We tell this story in the pages of Response, not
to dwell in pain, but to bear witness to God’s presence
among us in the midst of that pain. God was
with us as we mourned. God was with us as we
prayed. God was with us as we offered comfort
and encouragement to each other. God was present
in the messages of support from alumni and
friends in our neighborhood, our city, and around
the world. God was with us as, a little more than a
week later, we celebrated our 2014 graduates and
prepared to send them out into the world.
We gathered as a Christian community, and we
found strength in God and in one another.
The Cry of the Heart
Paul Lee’s Memory Dances On
The Rise Above Fund
Many people asked how they could offer
financial support to Seattle Pacific University
following the events of June 5. In response,
the University created the Rise Above Fund
to support those students directly affected
and to meet special needs around the SPU
Learn more at spu.edu/give.
SPU assisted students, faculty, and staff in a variety
of ways. Counseling and psychological first aid was coordinated by
the Student Counseling Center in partnership with faculty from the
School of Psychology, Family, and Community, and an outside crisis
counselor was brought in to help as well. Other support included the
Art Center offering space for creating art as a way to respond.
Pieces of art were delivered as gifts for families directly affected
(see back cover). Photo by Lynn Anselmi.