- Associated Press - Friday, June 6, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The student killed in Thursday’s shooting at Seattle Pacific University graduated from a Portland-area high school last year.

Paul Lee, 19, graduated last June from Westview High School in Beaverton, said Maureen Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the school district. He previously attended nearby Bethany Elementary and Stoller Middle School.

He was a “ray of light” in the classroom with an “infectious positive attitude,” Japanese instructor Brian Bangerter, who taught Lee for three years, said in a statement released by the district.

“It was impossible (to) be around him and not feel happy,” Bangerter said. “He made class fun for everyone. His laugh and smile were both contagious. Everyone who knew him felt close to him.”

Susan Savage of Portland said her son, Dylan Savage, was friends with Lee, and the two graduated together. She described Lee as likable, kind and respectful.

“What a waste,” said Savage, who said Lee’s friends gathered at her house Thursday night to remember him.

“This guy, with his personality, he would have soared,” she said. “He would have accomplished. He was one of the good guys. It’s just a loss. He would have added to the quality of our world, and now we’ll never know.”

In a Facebook post, Lee’s brother, Albert, said he and his family have been overwhelmed by thoughts and prayers from the community.

“At this moment, all we can ask is to continue to remember Paul and all that he has left behind for us,” Albert Lee wrote. “Thank you all for blanketing us with your kind words, we will thank you all individually in due time.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici issued a statement offering condolences to Lee’s family and friends and urging Congress to take action after “yet another senseless tragedy caused by gun violence.”

“We must pass stricter background checks and commit to strengthening our country’s mental health care system,” she said. “And we must demand greater accountability in reporting and investigating mental health concerns and invest in more research on the treatment of mental illness.”

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