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October 25, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Girl killed in Marysville school shooting remembered as ‘nice and awesome’

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Bouquets of flowers sit on a fence next to Marysville-Pilchuck High School the morning after a deadly shooting at the school. (Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

The girl killed in Friday’s shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School was Zoe Galasso, according to a family friend who said he’s been in touch with Zoe’s mother about a fundraising website in her honor.

Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano, both 14, were identified Saturday morning as the two girls who were wounded.

They had surgery Friday after being shot in the head, and both remained in critical condition in intensive care on Saturday, according to Dr. Joanne Roberts, chief medical officer for Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. She said both girls had extensive surgery.

“The next three days are going to be crucial,” Roberts said. “These young people are being monitored moment-by-moment. We won’t know a whole lot more for the next two or three days.” They have a nurse at their bedsides constantly, she said.

Roberts read a brief statement from Soriano’s family. “Our family is in shock,” it said. “We appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this tragedy. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families. Please allow us our privacy as we deal with this tragedy.”

Roberts said she has spent time with both families. “We’ve seen tears. We’ve seen anger. We’ve seen just grieving,” she said.

Two of the girls have been longtime friends, said Lukas Thorington, 14, who grew up with Zoe and Shaylee.

Thorington is a freshman at Marysville’s other public high school, Marysville Getchell, but Zoe, Shaylee and victim Nate Hatch were classmates of his in earlier grades.

He described the teenagers as ordinary, popular kids.

“Zoe was very outgoing,” Thorington said. “She was into sports. She was nice and awesome. She was fun to hang out with.”

Thorington first heard about the shooting while at school Friday. Since then, his mind has been on his friends.

“Last year, in eighth grade, there was a students versus staff basketball game,” he said, recalling that Zoe and Shaylee were both on the girls basketball team at Totem Middle School. “We were all playing basketball that day against the teachers. We won and we were all happy and celebrating.”

Thorington called Shaylee sociable and kind. She helped other kids with their problems, he said. The two girls were tight with Nate, a talkative football player and wrestler with a sense of humor.

“Nate, he’s really funny,” Thorington said. “It was kind of shocking to me when heard because they were all friends. I don’t know what happened.”

Corey Williams, 37, is friends with Zoe’s mother and wanted to help, so he set up a GoFundMe.com page Saturday to raise money for the Galasso family.

“I was just like, ‘I’m going to do something. I just can’t do nothing,'” said Williams, of Lake Stevens. “My goal is just to alleviate any of the hardships that might come.”

The Zoe Galasso Memorial Fund page had raised more than $10,000 by 5 p.m., just seven hours after it was created.

“I’m pretty surprised,” Wise said. “I put $10,000 as the goal as a pie-in-the-sky thing. I’m shocked.”

Text conversation Friday between student Karalyn Demarest and her mother, Naomi.

Text conversation Friday between student Karalyn Demarest and her mother, Naomi.

Outside the high school Saturday a growing number of bouquets were being added to a memorial against a chain link fence.

“Even though I wasn’t close with any of them, they still deserve respect and their families deserve it,” said Karalyn Demarest, 17, a senior at the school.

She and her mother, Naomi Demarest, brought a bouquet of roses Naomi recently received from her husband, a fisherman who is away. “I think they’re needed more here,” she said.

Karalyn was in a classroom near the cafeteria Friday and did not hear the shots, but heard screaming.

“I heard people say ‘He has a gun! He has a gun!’ so I went and hid in a classroom,” she said. She texted her mother to tell her what was happening.

Renee Cole of Marysville graduated from the school in 1993 and was in school with the father of Nate Hatch, one of the victims.

“This is just devastating. I could never imagine something like this happening,” she said.

She said she brought flowers “because they are the universal symbol of life and of hope.”

Investigators earlier Saturday said they had interviewed more than 100 witnesses and recovered a .40-caliber handgun as they investigate the shooting, in which a freshman student, identified by classmates Friday as Jaylen Fryberg, shot five classmates before killing himself.

The motive for the shooting is still under investigation. The gun is believed to have been the one used in the attack; CNN reported it is registered to Fryberg’s father.

Witnesses said Fryberg opened fire in a cafeteria at 10:39 a.m., shooting three girls and two boys, both cousins of Fryberg. One girl died at the school. The Snohomish County medical examiner is expected to identify her later Saturday.

The two boys remain hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Nate Hatch, 14, was in critical condition Saturday morning with a wound to the head. Andrew Fryberg, 15, was in serious condition after being shot in the jaw.

Two other students were treated at the high school for minor wounds, the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives confirmed that a cafeteria worker attempted to stop the shooter, but additional details weren’t immediately released.

Randy Davis, president of the Marysville Education Association, said school district officials have told him that first-year social studies teacher Megan Silberberger was involved in trying to stop the shooting.

Serena Wiley, 21, sends a message to the high school students and staff outside Alfy's Pizza.

Serena Wiley, 21, sends a message to the high school students and staff outside Alfy’s Pizza. (Jack Broom / The Seattle Times)

“I reached out to her and said, ‘I think you’re going to be contacted,'” Davis said Saturday. “We talked once and we didn’t talk about the event. She just indicated to me that she needed some time, and in her voice I felt that she did. She said, ‘Right now, I just want some time to deal with this and be with my family.'”

Davis praised Silberberger.

“I’m not even sure why Megan was in the cafeteria at the time. I think it was just a teacher going through, getting her lunch or coming from lunch,” Davis said. “I’m completely amazed. There’s two ways anybody could go in that situation. You can flee or you can go toward it. Obviously, we’re glad she did what she did and thankful.”

Davis said Silberberger was a student teacher at the school last year. He visited her classroom earlier this year to pick up paperwork.

“I said, ‘How’s it going?’ and she said, ‘It’s been great,'” said Davis.

At Marysville’s Mountain View Presbyterian Church Saturday afternoon, Pastor John Mason told about 50 people who gathered that, even when they experience terrible and horrible events, God is still with them. The group offered prayers for all members of the Marysville community

“We want to create a space where people can come together, and pray or worship or sing, or just to be with other people,” said the church’s creative director Dustin Willetts before the vigil.

Willetts said he doesn’t believe that any of the shooting victims are members of the church, but said the congregation includes three or four faculty members or staff from the high school, and about a dozen Marysville-Pilchuck students.

Other churches around Marysville also are opening their doors to community members as gathering spaces for anyone impacted by Friday’s shooting.

Mike Reynolds, who is the lead pastor of Hillside Church is opening the doors of his coffee shop as a space for students to gather during the week while school is cancelled. Reynolds says he hopes to provide free breakfast and lunches.

The Grove Church will also be open to the public and will be serving breakfast and lunch.

“The goal is not to provide all the answers, but to gather and let each other know that you are not alone,” lead pastor Nik Baumgart said. “To be alone you feel like it is 10-times worse. Greif shared makes it lighter — it will help us get through it and not just stew in it.”

Saturday morning, a long line of people in cars waited for a chance to go into the school to retrieve possessions left behind in the confusion Friday. School will be closed all next week.

Outside Alfy’s Pizza in Marysville Saturday afternoon, cook Serena Wiley, 21, was putting a message of support on the reader board at her boss’ suggestion.

“It’s tragic and terrible. Shooters don’t realize how much they can hurt an entire community,” Wiley said.

She said she doesn’t know the victims, but her half-brother is a cousin to one of them.

“It’s one of those things you see on the news and you never think about it happening where you live,” she said.

Investigators ask that anyone who believes they have information regarding the incident to call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 425-388-3845.

Seattle Times staff reporter Daniel Beekman contributed to this report.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: jaylen fryberg, Marysville Pilchuck High School, shooting

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