- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - A King County Superior Court commissioner has blocked local news media from obtaining a copy of surveillance video taken during last month’s deadly shooting at Seattle Pacific University.

Commissioner Carlos Velategui issued a restraining order on Thursday and said releasing the video “creates a huge public danger” by telling the next “crazy” how to commit a crime on campus, The Seattle Times reported (https://is.gd/DY9jon).

The commissioner also accused the city’s four TV news stations of seeking the graphic video to boost ratings. One citizen is also seeking the video.

“What we’re doing here is not of concern to the public,” Velategui said during the hearing. “The only possible interest of the public is their eyes will be glued to the screen to watch someone get shot.”

News outlets are entitled to the video under the state public records law, said Eric Stahl, a lawyer from the Davis, Wright, Tremaine law firm, which is representing the media.

Brad Thoreson, a lawyer representing the shooting victims, said the release would violate victims’ privacy rights. The graphic video shows the gunman shooting students and pointing a firearm at others, he said.

Aaron Rey Ybarra, 26, is accused of fatally shooting a 19-year-old student and wounding two others. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of premeditated first-degree murder and other charges.

Authorities say he walked into Otto Miller Hall on the Seattle campus June 5 and shot three students with a shotgun before student Jon Meis tackled him to the ground as he paused to reload.

A lawyer representing the university, Michael R. McKinstry, said the shooting was a “terrorist” act and that releasing the video would give other criminals insight into school surveillance systems.

The restraining order will be reviewed and additional arguments will be heard by Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert later this month, the newspaper reported.

Ybarra’s attorney, Ramona Brandes, is also seeking to have the video and other evidence withheld from public disclosure.


Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com



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