Friday, March 2, 2018, is a day I, the students at Central Michigan University, and the surrounding area of Mt. Pleasant, may never forget.
At 9am I woke up to hearing gunshots and my phone ringing with a phone call from the University reporting shots fired. I called my mom and the only thing I said was “Mom, there’s a shooter on campus, I heard gunshots. What’s going on?” She told me not to worry, that it was probably a car backfiring and it was a false alarm.
About an hour after, I received another phone call reporting the shooting was real, the suspect was at large and the campus went into shelter-in-place. I felt my stomach drop and my heart rate speed up. I couldn’t believe it was real.
Immediately I opened my laptop to CBS where the incident was being followed live. I heard the reporters say that the suspect was headed toward the train tracks. He was headed in my direction. I lunged off my bed and ran to the door checking to see if it was locked and shoved the doorstop under to make sure it stayed shut.
Soon I could hear the sound of sirens constantly whirling past toward the scene of the shooting, police dogs barking, and the helicopters overhead.
I was a nervous wreck. Although at the time, it was said to have been a domestic issue, there was still a gunman loose on my campus. The place I considered my second home; somewhere I felt safe.
Hours went by where there were no more updates, just the occasional, “Suspect still at large. Shelter and place.” Hours went by where I sat in my dorm waiting for an update, jumping whenever I heard a loud noise like a door in the hallway shutting or a car door slam.
For six hours I didn’t know what was happening. I just knew there was a kid who just committed a double murder was loose on campus with a gun. I felt like a sitting duck.
Eventually, at 2pm, although there was still no update on the shooting, the dorms began to be evacuated. So my friend and I decided to make a break for it to my car in a lot that had already been cleared. Once we made it to my car, we were home free and breathed a sigh of relief.
The suspect wasn’t caught until about 1am Saturday morning.
Although this wasn’t a “mass school shooting” where the goal was to kill as many people as possible, lives were still lost and the terror was present.
The question is, how do we begin to process this?
I am at a complete loss for words. How often does a college from a small town make national news? I have never thought to myself “I don’t want to go back to campus.” Until now, I had always felt safe on campus.
The only things I could think about was every “what if” possible.
Twice in my life, I have gone through a situation like this. In high school, we went on lockdown. Everyone thought it was a drill until we heard more and more police sirens. It was then we realized it was real. In the end, it turned out to be a misunderstanding about a paintball gun.
However, at a time like those, your life gets turned upside down. Your thoughts go to what you want to say just in case something happens to you, like texting your family members to tell them you love them or telling your friends how much you appreciate them.
Moments and situations like these change your perspective on life almost instantly.
I am very grateful for all the officers that responded and worked diligently to find the shooter, and I keep the Davis family in my prayers.
It’s true what people say. You never think something like this will happen to you until it does.