PULLMAN – Police arrested a man and continue to investigate a shooting that left one person dead and a Washington State University football player critically injured early Saturday.
Liban A. Barre, 23, of Kent, Washington, died of gunshot wounds. He was not a student. WSU football player Brandon C. Gray, 22, a wide receiver, remains in serious but stable condition following an airlift to a Spokane hospital.
Police arrested 23-year-old George M. Harris III after 7 a.m. for his suspected role in the shooting, said Jake Opgenorth, acting chief commander of the Pullman Police Department.
“His exact involvement at this point I cannot share, as we’re still actively investigating,” Opgenorth said.
Police said the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident after a fight.
Witnesses and partygoers said the violence occurred as a raucous house party of about 200 people spilled into the 1200 block of Northeast Myrtle Street. As police were responding to a noise complaint at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, officers heard gunfire and found two victims within a block at the corner of Williams Street and Lybecker Road. They applied first aid until paramedics arrived.
Both were taken to Pullman Regional Hospital, where Barre died.
Police recovered a handgun at the scene, Opgenorth said, adding that following his arrest, Harris told the police the gun was his.
“It doesn’t look like it was an active shooter or random situation,” Opgenorth said. “We believe that there’s a connection with these individuals.”
Aislinn Overby, who lives nearby, estimated she heard six to eight shots.
Parties are frequent in the neighborhood, she said, so she’s used to the loud noise on weekends. But the big party Friday night into early Saturday morning was “really loud,” Overby said, with a lot of people walking about and more cars than usual parked in a nearby church lot.
“There was a lot of foot traffic before shots were fired and a lot of commotion, and then there was even more screaming and yelling and it all kind of accumulated in … the side of our yard,” she said.
Sam Schmidt said after the shots were fired, guys ran down the hill laughing.
Pullman Police and members of the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory collected evidence at the scene Saturday, with yellow evidence markers dotting the closed off street.
Residents of the restricted area were escorted to their homes after giving statements.
WSU student Ashley Miles, 18, said she was used to hearing gunshots in her hometown of Yakima, but was surprised by the Pullman shooting.
“I definitely hadn’t heard of a lot of shootings around here, but that’s seemed to change the last couple of weeks,” she said, referencing an incident from earlier this month where gunshots were reported at a party at the Hills on Grand.
The investigation is ongoing, Opgenorth said. Officers continue to interview witnesses and urge anyone with information on the incident to call Pullman police at (509) 334-0802.