By Jonathan Anker, HLNtv.com
(HLNtv.com) — “A loving kid.”
“Loved and will always be loved.”
The remembrances continue to pour out online after Friday’s deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington. But the kind words above aren’t about any of the victims; they’re about the shooter.
Many people who knew 14-year-old Jaylen Fryberg have been using Twitter and other social media sites to defend his reputation, or at least to try to reconcile the outgoing friend they hung out or chatted with between classes with the one who shot five students in the school cafeteria, killing two of them, before turning the gun on himself.
Even one of those five victims, Fryberg’s own cousin, Nate Hatch, tweeted from his hospital bed that he forgives the person that put him there.
“I love you and I forgive you jaylen rest in peace,” he wrote.
Though by no means a consensus, Hatch’s tweet reflects a broad, more sympathetic response that has emerged online among many of the people who knew Jaylen.
“That wasn’t the kid i knew… He stood up to a bully for my little brother… Im not saying what he did was right but i know that wasn’t him,” tweeted @jr_bryce. “He was a loving kid… & was liked by many.”
@StevenDuong_ posted: “To the guy at Walmart who just looked at my shirt and said ‘I’m sorry you went to school with a psychopath,’ I’ll pray for you.”
“Don’t you dare speak of Jaylen badly…he is loved and will always be loved. He just wasn’t in the right state of mind…I love him,” wrote @Ophfeewii.
The idea that Fryberg “just wasn’t in the right state of mind” appears to be supported by students at the school who told CNN affiliate KING that Fryberg and another student got into a fight over a girl one day before the shooting. Tweets posted by Fryberg’s Twitter account last week are filled with rage, and several seem to reference his anger about the student and girl’s relationship.
Shaylee Bass, 15, told KING he was “very upset about that” and added that the freshman “was not a violent person. … His family is known all around town. He was very well known. That’s what makes it so bizarre.”
“He was perfectly fine the day before,” said another student, Austin Taylor. “I remember talking to him. He seemed like the normal kid that we all knew. He was always a very nice kid.”
Back on Twitter, @oheyitscora, another friend of Jaylen’s, wrote: “I can GUARANTEE all the people saying jaylen went to hell didn’t know him personally.”
“Jaylen was an amazing kid, breaks my heart,” tweeted @McCutchen28.
On Monday, three students remained hospitalized after Friday’s attack. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, who is another cousin of Jaylen’s, were listed in critical condition. Hatch, who tweeted his forgiveness, was in serious condition.
Zoe Galasso, 14, died at the scene Friday. Gia Soriano, 14, died from her injuries Sunday night, October 26.