By Chris Daniels, KING 5 News
TULALIP RESERVATION, Wash. – John McCoy stood near Interstate 5 on Tuesday and reflected about what it meant to the reservation nearby.
“It was a curtain, definitely a curtain,” said the state senator and tribal leader, about how the road was viewed for years.
The highway was a geographic, and figurative, dividing line between the Tulalips and the rest of Snohomish County.
McCoy says that has changed as time evolved, but old fears have been re-ignited in the wake of the Marysville-Pilchuck shootings.
Shooter Jaylen Fryberg was raised by a well-respected Tulalip family, and according to McCoy, was being groomed to be a leader on the reservation.
“That’s what makes it really hurt. We felt he was on the right track and doing all the right things. So where did we go wrong, where did we go wrong,” said McCoy, who is close with Fryberg’s family and says they are still trying to process the tragedy.
Another tribal member, Andrew Gobin, wrote in The Herald of Everett that he knew Fryberg.
“This is not about gun control,” wrote Gobin. “This is not about how a community failed a young man, and it’s not about using his troubles to solve everyone’s problems.”
Yet, tensions are still high. On Tuesday, police were called to a high school on the reservation after a report of a threat. Police say the threat was unfounded, but stayed at the school for a majority of the day.
McCoy says he still sees hope that the event will not renew old beliefs.
“In times of stress like this, people say things. And you have to reassure them things will be okay and it will be like it’s been for the last few years,” he said. “It appears to me that the framework we’ve put together is holding solid. And everybody is talking about the community. Tulalip and Marysville are one community – the community.”