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Washington school shooting victim forgives the gunman -- his cousin

By Holly Yan and Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jaylen Fryberg sent a selfie with a gun to an ex-girlfriend, law enforcement source says
  • The shooter used text messages to get victims to sit at same lunch table, sheriff says

(CNN) -- How does a 14-year-old high school student, shot in the face and told he can never play football again, feel about his attacker?

Forgiving.

In a tweet he sent from his hospital, Nate Hatch says he forgives his cousin -- the shooter who opened fire at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington on Friday.

Two students, Zoe Galasso and Gia Soriano, were killed. Two others, in addition to Nate, are still hospitalized.

The shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, took his own life.

"I love you and I forgive you jaylen rest in peace," Nate tweeted.

Witnesses say Jaylen, a popular freshman, opened fire in the crowded cafeteria after inviting the five victims to the same lunch table.

"It's our understanding he (invited them) via texting," Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said Monday.

Shooter invited victims to cafeteria
Second student dies from school shooting

Shortly before the shootings, Fryberg sent a selfie to his ex-girlfriend showing himself holding a gun, a law enforcement official told CNN. It is unclear if it was the same .40 caliber pistol used in the attack.

Rampage ended when 'hero' teacher confronted gunman

Critical condition

Of the three students who remain hospitalized, Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, 14, and Andrew Fryberg, 15, are in critical condition. Nate is in satisfactory condition.

Like Nate, Andrew is also a cousin of the shooter.

Don Hatch, Nate's grandfather, said his grandson has another surgery scheduled for Thursday.

Nate was walking with the aid of nurse when the grandfather went to see him Monday morning. But doctors told Nate he can never play football again due to his facial injuries, Hatch said.

"He just wants to let people know that he's OK. He's getting better," Hatch said.

Nate himself tweeted, "Worst pain ive ever felt in my life."

Hatch said Jaylen's family is struggling and like everyone else wants to know why this happened.

'It wasn't just random'

Grandfather: Gunman targeted his cousins

Investigators in Marysville have not provided details, but students offered up accounts that painted a terrifying, chaotic picture.

Shooting victim's grandfather speaks out

Fellow student Jordan Luton was finishing his lunch in the cafeteria when he heard a loud bang.

He saw Jaylen go up to a table of students, "came up from behind ... and fired about six bullets into the backs of them," Jordan told CNN. "They were his friends, so it wasn't just random."

Share your perspective on guns with CNN iReport

Grief, disbelief

By all accounts, Jaylen was a popular student. Just a week ago, he had been named the high school's freshman homecoming prince.

"It's weird to think about, because you see him and he is such a happy person," sophomore Alex Pietsch said. "You never really see him be so angry and so upset. ... It was just surprising to me that him, out of all people, would be the one."

CNN's Kevin Conlon, Pamela Brown, Jake Tapper and Evan Perez contributed to this report.

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