Paul Lee loved to dance.
Dancing was “a good way to relieve stress and brings joy in my life,” Lee wrote on the website of a college program he joined while still in high school last year.
He was a member of Seattle Pacific University’s hip-hop club and would walk around his dorm floor doing the robot, friends said.
“Keep dancing in heaven,” someone wrote in a letter to Lee at a makeshift memorial to him outside Otto Miller Hall on Friday.
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Lee, a 19-year-old freshman from Portland, was killed in Thursday’s shooting at Seattle Pacific University. Two other students were wounded.
On Friday, SPU sophomore Kilian Olszewsky, 20, described Lee as “different, but in a good way.” He was easygoing, all the time. Olszewsky’s dorm room was next to Lee’s on the fifth floor of Ashton Hall.
“You’re not used to that personality, but you loved him for who he was,” Olszewsky said. “He was adored by everyone, and he was affectionate with everyone.”
Abby Danao, a sophomore at SPU studying mechanical engineering, saw Lee just moments before he was shot.
“I saw him on the sidewalk and said ‘hi’ as I passed,” Danao said.
Moments later she returned to Otto Miller Hall and saw Lee had been shot.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t move,” Danao said. “I saw his body on the floor with shotgun shells everywhere.”
On Thursday night, the students living on Lee’s floor hadn’t heard from him. They took their mattresses from their rooms and put them all in the hallway, so they could be closer to each other while they waited to see if Lee would come home, Olszewsky said.
They were worried, Olszewsky said, but they still hoped that maybe he was somewhere else. He listened to loud music, so maybe he had been somewhere and hadn’t heard the commotion because he was wearing his headphones, they thought.
When they woke up the next morning, Lee still wasn’t there.
Lee graduated from Westview High School in Portland in 2013. Brian Bangerter, a Japanese-language instructor at the high school, sent this statement about his former student:
“Paul Lee was a ray of light in my classroom for three years. It was impossible to be around him and not feel happy. He made class fun for everyone.
“His laugh and smile were both contagious. Everyone who knew him felt close to him. He will always be remembered for his infectious positive attitude. I know I will never forget him.”
Friday, family members and many classmates said they weren’t ready to talk about their friend, but instead posted tributes to Lee on social media and left letters at his memorial. His family had come from out of town and were on campus Friday.
“I wish we had gotten together earlier because then you wouldn’t have been shot,” a friend wrote in black marker on a white sheet of paper left on top of flowers.
On Facebook, Albert Lee, Paul Lee’s brother, posted about his grief:
“At a time when we feel a level of loss, grief, and pain we couldn’t have ever imagined, we are so overwhelmed by all of the thoughts and prayers from the community. At this moment all we can ask is to continue to remember Paul and all that he has left behind for us. Thank you all for blanketing us with your kind words, we will thank you all individually in due time.”
Staff reporters Erin Heffernan and Erik Lacitis contributed to this report.
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org