The 23-year-old man, who was killed in a shooting near the Washington State University campus in Pullman earlier on Saturday, was a South King County community activist who, according to his friends and relatives, dreamed of holding public office to run for office.
Liban Barre was one of two victims in the Saturday morning shooting. The other, Brandon Gray, a 22-year-old wide receiver for the Cougars, was rushed to a hospital in Spokane by ambulance with life-threatening injuries.
WSU Sports Director Pat Chun said Gray was in serious but stable condition on Saturday afternoon.
“Our thoughts and prayers go with Brandon and his family and friends,” Chun said in a statement. “Since this remains an open police investigation, we can not comment further at the moment.”
Pullman police said the officers were called around 12:30 p.m. to hear a report of a noisy party with possibly 200 people in attendance. As police approached the party, they heard several gunshots and found Barre and Gray with gunshot wounds nearby. The officers tried life-saving measures on both men.
Police said a 23-year-old Pullman man was arrested several hours later on suspicion of assault related to the shooting. The investigations are still ongoing.
Barre, who grew up in Renton and Kent, was deeply involved in his Somali American community in South King County, said Barre’s cousin Yasir Rashid.
Rashid, 28, said he last saw his cousin three weeks ago at the White Center, where Barre was helping people fill out rental assistance applications.
Barre also had ambitions to run for public office, according to his cousin Mohamed Abdi, 24. The two became close friends as teenagers through an East African after-school program, filming videos of Somali Americans growing up in South King County.
“He was an absolute dreamer,” said Abdi, who is currently running for a seat on Tukwila City Council. “He had so many career options, goals.”
Abdi said Barre had been urged to support his family and shed light on the Somali, black and Muslim experiences. He recently moved to Pullman to enroll for courses at WSU, his cousin said.
“He loved trying to influence this world,” said Abdi. “And with that he would have an impact on his community.”
Hours before WSU’s 24-13 loss to Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Cougar players learned that their teammate Gray had been wounded.
After the game, coach Nick Rolovich told reporters that Gray was in “stable condition” after being seriously injured from a gunshot wound.
“I know the Pullman community was hurt by last night’s incident. One of our teammates was involved, Brandon Gray, and our thoughts and prayers go with him, ”said Rolovich. “I have so much respect for this team … that they go out and play as hard as they did with the news they got this morning about their teammates, I think it’s a tribute to their character. All we can do now is pray and pray for his family. “
Players Abe Lucas and Ron Stone Jr. said they would pray and think about their teammate.
“When you see something like this on the news, you never expect it to be someone you know,” said Stone. “It’s shocking and humiliating to know that not every day is guaranteed.”
It wasn’t immediately known why Gray wasn’t going to Salt Lake City with the Cougars.
The Associated Press and Theo Lawson of The Spokesman Review contributed to this report.