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Sam Stefanek, Location: The Lodges Apartments

Monday, 4:30pm. I packed my bags and began my walk from the MSU Union to the Minskoff Pavilion for an evening class. I have spent countless hours, days, and nights in the Union working on homework while sipping coffee. I loved how warm and homey the place always felt. It was a beautiful day to walk outside, especially for February.

7:30pm. My class got done a little early. With a lot of homework left in front of me that night, I decided to go eat at SnyPhi to save myself time cooking.

8:15pm. I leave SnyPhi and begin my walk along Bogue Street back to my car. I have my airpods in, listening to music. I hear some loud noises in the distance but think nothing of it. I am used to hearing cars backfiring or other loud noises coming from Grand River.

8:32pm. The first text comes through as I pull into a parking spot outside of my apartment. Run, hide, fight.

I walk into my apartment, lock the door behind me and immediately address my roommates. We were worried but felt we were far enough from campus that we were fine. I text my parents to tell them where I am at, thinking its better for them to hear the news from me rather than a headline.

As group chats and snap stories quickly start blowing up, we realized how serious this was and turned on the police scanner. Reports are flowing in of gunshots across campus. Reports of peoples doors being banged on and men spotted with guns across campus. “Shots reported in Hubbard Hall” we hear over the scanner.

Were there multiple shooters? Was this a planned attack? Whatever was happening, it seemed to be heading east, in the direction of our apartment. We turn off the lights and barricade our door, as all of East Lansing did the same. Every sound from outside made us hold our breathe. Calls were flowing in on the scanner of reported shots seemingly everywhere. My phone is blowing up with people asking if I am okay. I am overwhelmed trying to communicate with my parents, friends, roommates, while trying to listen to the scanner.

I learn that I have friends barricaded in closets, random dorm rooms, and dining halls. I learn that I had friends in the Union at the time of the shooting. I have never felt so helpless. For hours, we sat in the dark, waiting for it all to end.

3:00am. The shooter had been found a couple of hours ago, but I was nowhere near sleeping. Our door was still barricaded. I had been scrolling social media, contacting my friends, and trying to wrap my head around what just happened. I take multiple melatonin pill; I can’t bear to stay awake with my head spinning anymore. My incredible campus was devastated.

I am angry. Angry at politicians who had done nothing for shooting after shooting. Angry at the coward who wreaked havoc on my home. Angry at the media for pushing their narratives. Angry that my beloved University could not catch a break. Angry at people who felt their interpretation of the second amendment is more important than our society’s wellbeing. Angry for all the beautiful people of MSU who’s lives are forever changed.

The world lost three souls who truly embodied being a Spartan. My heart breaks for them and others in the hospital. I can’t help but think about how that could have been me. I am incredibly fortunate.

As well stated in Tim Alberta’s article, “A Requiem for the Spartans,” we are resilient. We are a community. We are fighters. If anything, good comes out of this, let it be how Michigan State University is defined for our response to this tragedy, not the tragedy itself. Spartans WILL.

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