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Sheriff: School shooter invited victims to lunch

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A memorial grows Saturday Oct. 25, 2014 at the entrance to Marysville Pilchuck High School the day after a shooting in the school cafeteria left two dead and four wounded. A memorial grows Saturday Oct. 25, 2014 at the entrance to Marysville Pilchuck High School the day after a shooting in the school cafeteria left two dead and four wounded.
Messages of support on the stage near candles and flowers in between morning services at The Grove Church in Marysville, Wash., two days after the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. Messages of support on the stage near candles and flowers in between morning services at The Grove Church in Marysville, Wash., two days after the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.
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  • Tribe reels from Washington state school shooting

    Tribe reels from Washington state school shooting

    Sunday, October 26 2014 9:49 PM EDT2014-10-27 01:49:26 GMT
    A close-knit community on the Tulalip Indian Reservation has struggled to find answers following the shooting at a high school on Washington's Puget Sound in which a young gunman from a prominent family opened fire, killing one person and injuring four others — including two of his cousins. 
    A close-knit community on the Tulalip Indian Reservation has struggled to find answers following the shooting at a high school on Washington's Puget Sound in which a young gunman from a prominent family opened fire, killing one person and injuring four others — including two of his cousins. 

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — Investigators say that a gunman responsible for a shooting at a Washington state high school on Friday invited his victims to lunch by text message.

Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary told a news conference Monday the five students were all at a lunch table when they were shot by 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg.

Trenary also confirmed that the .40-caliber handgun used in the shooting had been legally purchased by one of Fryberg's relatives. It remains unclear how Fryberg obtained the weapon.

The sheriff said investigators continue combing through a massive amount of text messages, phone records and social media posts as they search for an explanation for the shooting — but he also says they may never find one.

Two 14-year-old girls were killed, and three students remain hospitalized. Fryberg also killed himself. Trenary said that while a teacher tried to intervene, she did not have any physical contact with the gunman before he killed himself.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier version, read below.

MARYSVILLE, Wash. (AP) — A 14-year-old girl who was wounded when a student opened fire inside a Washington state high school has died, raising the death toll in the shooting to three, including the gunman.

Gia Soriano died Sunday night, more than two days after she was shot, officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett said.

"We are devastated by this senseless tragedy," her family said in a statement, read at a news conference by Dr. Joanne Roberts. "Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her."

Roberts said Gia's family was donating her organs for transplant.

Another girl, who hasn't been officially identified, was killed Friday when a popular freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle opened fire. The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, died at the scene of a self-inflicted wound.

Three other students remain hospitalized, two in critical condition and one in serious condition.

Earlier Sunday, parents and students gathered in a gymnasium at the school for a community meeting, with speakers urging support and prayers and tribal members playing drums and singing songs. Fryberg was from a prominent family from the Tulalip Indian tribes.

"We just have to reach for that human spirit right now," said Deborah Parker, a tribal member.

Young people hugged each other and cried as speakers urged people to come together.

"Our legs are still wobbly," said Tony Hatch, a cousin of one of the injured students. "We're really damaged right now."

Of the wounded students, only Nate Hatch, 14, showed improvement, though he remained in serious condition in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Andrew Fryberg, 15, also was in critical condition in intensive care. Both are cousins of Jaylen Fryberg.

Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, remained in critical condition in intensive care at Providence Regional Medical Center.

Fryberg died in the attack after a first-year teacher intervened. It's unclear if he intentionally killed himself or if the gun went off in a struggle with a teacher.

As the community looked for comfort, a makeshift memorial on a chain-link fence kept growing Sunday. Balloons, flowers, stuffed toys and signs adorned the fence near the school, which will be closed this week.

Meanwhile, the close-knit community on the nearby Tulalip Indian reservation struggled with the news that the shooter was a popular teenager from one of their more well-known families.

A tribal guidance counselor said no one knows what motivated Fryberg.

"We can't answer that question," said Matt Remle, who has an office at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, which is 30 miles north of Seattle. "But we try to make sense of the senselessness."

In the nearby community of Oso, where a mudslide this spring killed dozens, people planned to gather to write condolence letters and cards.

Remle said he knew Fryberg and the other students well.

"My office has been a comfort space for Native students," he said. "Many will come by and have lunch there, including the kids involved in the shooting."

They all were "really happy, smiling kids," Remle said. "They were a polite group. A lot of the kids from the freshman class were close-knit.

"These were not kids who were isolated," he said. "They had some amazing families and have amazing families."

These factors make the shooting that much more difficult to deal with, Remle said.

"Maybe it would be easier if we knew the answer," he said. "But we may never know."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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