There has been a fatal school shooting in Marysville, Washington. Here are some of the details:

What [a student in the school cafeteria] saw was freshman Jaylen Fryberg go up to a table with students, “came up from behind … and fired about six bullets into the backs of them,” Luton told CNN. “They were his friends, so it wasn’t just random.”…

The shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Marysville police spokesman Robb Lamoureux told reporters.

Two girls are in the intensive care unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, and two boys are in ICU at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Providence spokeswoman Erin Al-Wazan said.

Three are “very critically ill” with “very serious” injuries, she said. One is in serious condition. One of the boys, age 14, suffered a jaw injury. The other, age 15, was critically injured in the head.

The shooter and his victims are members of the Tulalip Native American tribe, and the two boys mentioned in the above quote are relatives of his:

My grandson and the shooter were best friends,” said the boy’s grandfather, Donald Hatch. “They grew up together and did everything together.”

The girls are not identified, but they were shot in the head and are in critical condition (another girl has died).

This is very different from the typical school shooting.

Ordinarily the shooter is some sort of misfit—not always a bullying victim as sometimes thought, but often at least somewhat troubled in a way that was noticeable even prior to the shooting.

Fryberg was apparently the opposite—a very popular and seemingly happy young man, although he’d had a few disappointments lately, including a breakup. He was also quite different from the usual school killer in that he targeted a group of friends. I haven’t done exhaustive research on the choice of victims of school shooters, but it’s my impression that this is highly irregular and perhaps even singular.

There is always the possibility that Fryberg was a sociopath or psychopath, although it’s way too early to know. But they often seem likeable, hide their antisocial natures quite well, and would have so little conscience that blowing away a bunch of friends might seem a good idea to them. They also are very difficult to spot, and if that was the situation here the mental health field would have been of very little use.

As for the gun, this is the preliminary report:

The gun used in the shooting has been traced to Fryberg’s father, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN. It is a “high capacity” weapon but did not have an extended magazine, the source said on condition of anonymity.

It is highly likely that this will be used in an effort to extend gun control in some way.

[NOTE: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators in the Columbine massacre, were initially thought to be of the bullied misfit type. But later research has indicated this was an error or at least an exaggeration, and that they were relatively well-liked. However, they had gotten into trouble with the law, although they fooled even the legal system into thinking they’d learned their lesson and were pretty good kids. Who were their targets? Actually, everyone at the school, and their intent didn’t stop there. They were extraordinarily antisocial, nihilistic, and grandiose in their plans, most of which they had kept completely hidden. It was only their journals, read posthumously, that revealed the extent of their pathology and/or evil.]

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]