I’m a junior this year studying Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences. I was in an MSU Outdoors Club meeting on Monday 2/13/23 at IM West just like every other Monday, when one of my good friends in the club announced that there was an active shooter at the Union. The whole room fell silent. My heart dropped. I was sitting in the front of the room facing the crowd of our meeting, and everyone’s faces changed to a mixture of confusion and terror.
The president of the club and I began to tell everyone they were welcome to go or stay if they felt safer, and most chose to stay. Just minutes later the school sent out an email ordering a lockdown. I begin to text my friends and family, as people start listening to the police scanner. I was texting my roommates, one of them was back at our apartment and another one was at work off campus when everything started, thank goodness. But my other roommate wasn’t responding.
My roommate at home was able to find out that he was in a classroom at Berkey Hall, the place where everything started. I couldn’t breathe. I started crying as it started to set in that my roommate was in Berkey and he wasn’t answering. I call him twice. No answer. My roommates and I were all trying to reach him separately but none of us could reach him. I was beginning to think the worst, I started to feel numb, my brain trying to protect itself from the flood of emotions coming in.
Then, after others had barricaded the doors, we had a knock at one of them, and it was an employee of IM West. We were all to go into the fitness center to get closed in by the metal doors, it felt safer once we got in there, or as safe as it could have been. The air was so heavy. I still felt like I couldn’t breathe. I grabbed a kettle bell thinking if the shooter were to get in, that I could do something to stop him. Luckily, it never came to that.
The night went on, and we were all upstairs in the fitness center, texting and calling our loved ones and friends that weren’t with us. It’s 10:30, I call my roommate again, no answer. I was waiting in line on the first floor a little later to use the bathroom, and the IM West employees started quieting us down and moving us upstairs. I had to remind myself to breathe. I tried to call my roommate four more times, no response. At 11:30 we finally get a text that he’s okay. We got out of IM West at 1:00 am, the roads crowded with cars and helicopters flying overhead. It felt like a movie, there was no way that just happened.
The next morning, I get ahold of my roommate on Instagram. He had left his phone behind at Berkey because the shooter hit his classroom. My roommate jumped out of a 2nd story window and was able to make it to a safe place for his parents to pick him up. It could have been him that died, and there is not a second that goes by that I don’t think about how grateful I am to still have him with us.
At home now, I can breathe. How will I go to class on Monday, not being able to breathe?