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World & Nation

Broken teen romance is said to be motive for shooting that kills three near Seattle

Washington state shooting
People embrace outside Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Wash., during a vigil for those who were slain Saturday.
(Alan Berner / Seattle Times)

The motive for a shooting that left three teens dead in this waterfront town north of Seattle appears similar to that of an attack that left four dead at a nearby high school two years ago: a broken teen romance.

In the first shooting, at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash., a 15-year-old armed with his father’s .40-caliber Beretta handgun shot five other students in the school cafeteria, killing four of them, including his former girlfriend and one of his cousins, before fatally shooting himself.

On Saturday morning, according to police and prosecutors, Allen Christopher Ivanov, 19, a student at the University of Washington-Bothell, shot four teenagers, killing three, including his ex-girlfriend, also a college student.

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At a late-night party in the upscale Chennault Beach neighborhood of this bucolic town 25 miles north of Seattle, Ivanov sprayed bullets into a crowd of an estimated 20 teens with a newly purchased AR-15 assault rifle, police said. At one point, the shooter climbed atop the roof of the million-dollar home to get a better angle, witnesses said.

Ivanov, who worked at an electronics store, was arrested Saturday driving on Interstate 5 near Chehalis, Wash., about 100 miles south of here. He is being held in Snohomish County Jail for investigation of three murders.

Police also say they’re investigating how the shooter obtained his weapon.

Witnesses say Ivanov came through the home to an outside fire pit where he began shooting, killing two there, then fired more rounds after climbing onto the roof, killing another before running off.

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Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson talks to reporters about the shooting.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson talks to reporters about the shooting.
(Alan Berner / Seattle Times )

Susan Gemmer, a grandmother of a teen who was at the event, told the Associated Press that her granddaughter called her while hiding in a closet. “We were texting back and forth, telling her to stay quiet, stay calm, we’re on our way,” Gemmer said. “She kept saying, ‘They’re dead, they’re dead, I saw them, I was right there and I saw them.’ ”

The three who died from the gunfire were identified as Jake Long, Jordan Ebner and Anna Bui. Wounded and in serious condition was Will Kramer, 18.

Bui, whose Facebook page said she recently returned from a European vacation, had just ended a nearly two-year relationship with Ivanov, friends said. The two had met in high school and continued their relationship while attending the University of Washington-Bothell.

On Instagram, Ivanoff recently posted a picture of his new semiautomatic rifle with three bullets next to it, then tweeted the picture with the message: “First and last Tweet. I’ve been through it all.”

Several hundred friends and schoolmates gathered outdoors Saturday night at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, from where Ivanoff and Bui graduated. Mourners brought flowers and tearfully consoled one another as a choir sang.

At a news conference, Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said: “Our community has suffered a great loss tonight. There were many young people who saw and heard things that no one should ever experience.”

Anderson is a special correspondent.

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