Father of Marysville Pilchuck shooter sentenced to 2 years

By Rikki King, The Herald


SEATTLE — The Tulalip man whose teenage son killed four students and himself at Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2014 was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday.

Raymond Fryberg, 42, stood up in U.S. District Court and expressed sorrow over the violence his son wreaked using a handgun the elder Fryberg could not legally possess.

Fryberg told U.S. District Judge James Robart he wakes up every day with a broken heart and prays for the young lives lost.

“I am sorry for what my son did,” he said. “ … I don’t condone any of the things my son did. It’s a tragedy.”

A federal jury in September convicted Fryberg of six counts of illegal firearm possession. He was the subject of a 2002 domestic-violence protection order in Tulalip Tribal Court that forbade him from owning guns.

Assistant U.S. attorneys sought roughly three years in prison, the stiffest punishment under sentencing guidelines. Fryberg’s defense attorneys, however, argued the man and his family had suffered enough. They urged two years of probation, with no time behind bars.

An investigation after the Oct. 24, 2014, shootings found the elder Fryberg had repeatedly filled out federal forms while buying 10 different guns and never once answered truthfully that he was disqualified from making such purchases. The defendant’s son used his dad’s illegally acquired .40-caliber handgun to open fire in a high school cafeteria. Before taking his own life, the teen shot five of his friends and relatives. Only Nate Hatch, shot in the jaw, survived.

On Monday Nate’s mother, Denise Hatch, told the court that in the 15 months since the shootings Raymond Fryberg had never apologized, and that lack of apology had divided the community.

Fryberg told Judge Robart that he went to trial on the charges in hopes of preserving his right to own weapons necessary for hunting, which he said is integral to tribal culture.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Fryberg faced a presumed punishment of between 27 and 33 months.

He was not immediately taken into custody Monday.