Father of Marysville-Pilchuck school shooter arrested on gun charge

SEATTLE — The father of a Washington state high school student who killed four classmates last fall has been arrested on a federal gun charge, accused of illegally purchasing the firearm his son used to carry out the shooting.

According to U.S. District Court records, Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. was arrested Tuesday morning. He faces one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

An agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations alleged in a criminal complaint that although Fryberg was subject to a domestic violence protection order, he purchased five guns from a Cabela’s outdoor recreation store, including the Beretta pistol his son used in the shooting.

Jaylen Fryberg, 15, shot and killed four friends and wounded another on October 24, 2014, in the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. He also killed himself.

Marysville School District Superintendent Becky Berg issued the following statement after news of the elder Fryberg’s arrest:

“We are saddened by this morning’s news. Our hearts go out to the victims’ families, our students, staff and community as we continue through the long process of recovery. This is part of an ongoing investigation and all questions related to this matter should be directed to the FBI.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tulalip Tribal Court issued Raymond Fryberg a permanent order of protection in 2002 after his then-girlfriend alleged he had threatened and physically assaulted her. The protection order prohibited Fryberg from possessing or purchasing a firearm.

Despite the order, Fryberg was able to purchase five firearms from January 2013 to July 2014 at the Cabela’s store on Quil Ceda Boulevard in Tulalip. Each time, federal investigators claim Fryberg lied about his criminal history.

On all five occasions, Fryberg is accused of lying on a document called an ATF Form 4473, which he was required to fill out when purcahsing a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), such as Cabela’s. A section of the forms asks the buyer if he or she is “subject to a court order restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner.”

Each of the five times Fryberg purchased a gun from the store, federal investigators claim he marked a box labeled “no,” and then signed the form, acknowledging that any false information provided could result in a felony charge.

While safeguards are in place should someone lie on such a form, a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol said it is possible that Fryberg’s protection order was never entered into a national FBI database used by gun sellers to determine if buyers are legally able to purchase a firearm before a sale is made.

Heather Anderson with the state patrol said tribal agencies are not required to pass along information to any local, state, or federal entity for entry into NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the agency has worked with tribes across the county to make sure pertinent information is shared with agencies that can enter it into the NICS database.

The Tulalip tribe did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday. Herman Williams, chairman of the tribe, issued a brief statement:

“The Tulalip Police Department continues to coordinate with federal authorities.  It is not our policy to comment on an active investigation, and at this time, we have no further information to share.  Our thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on the victims, their families, and the healing of our communities impacted by the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting on October 24, 2014.”

Cabela’s said it “strictly complies with federal, state and local laws regulating the sale of firearms.”

“Cabela’s records indicate the transaction was processed in compliance with applicable regulations, including background checks,” the company wrote in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.