Michigan State students reflect on where they were when shots rang out

Michigan State University students who were near the MSU Union share what went through their heads as a gunman opened fire on campus.

Michigan State students reflect on where they were when shots rang out

Just a day after a man walked onto the Michigan State University campus and opened fire, the East Lansing community is mourning — in a place many thought was safe.

"It just felt like surreal to watch the news and to recognize places and faces," said Jack Doupe, a Michigan resident.

Students, faculty and others from the community have been gathering across campus all day, leaving notes and flowers and taking a moment to process what's happened.

For many students, it's hard to comprehend how something like this could have happened there.

Sophomore Sofia Mireles was with her friend studying inside the MSU Union when they heard gunshots.

"I just saw everyone running, everyone that was at the MSU Union, and then a lot of police officers, and I hear someone screaming and just... panicking," Mireles said.

They ran to a nearby library where they sheltered in place.

"I mean, I'm happy to be here, but I'm also sad," Mireles said. "And just, I can't believe that a place that is supposed to be safe for students — it's a university campus — I can't believe that this has happened. My condolences to all the families, and I hope all the victims get well soon."

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Officers arrived to find several people with gunshot wounds and two dead. Minutes later, shots were heard elsewhere on campus.


Another sophomore, Pranesh Muthukumar, says he was on his way to the MSU Union just minutes before it became a crime scene. But he decided to take a detour.

"I was actually supposed to be in the Union around the time that it happened," Muthukumar said. "Around like 8:00, I decided to go get food, but I changed my mind. So when the shooting started, I was kind of outside — a pretty safe distance from the shooting."

It's a decision he's thankful for.

"One small decision could've turned my life upside down," he said. "I could've been the one dead instead of some of the other unfortunate ones."

All campus activities including classes have been canceled through Wednesday. The university has set up counseling services in several locations.

In a statement, campus police said: "We will stand together as a community and support one another during this difficult time."

Tuesday marked the five-year anniversary of the Parkland School shooting.

"I don't know because, I mean, I've heard stories of the Oakland County shooting... but I never expected it would happen," Muthukumar said. "It's just TV, and you're like, 'Oh it's just news.' You don't expect it to happen to you."

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Oxford, Michigan, which is 75 miles east of the Michigan State University campus, had a school shooting less than 15 months ago.