Tense, scary and chaotic was how Michigan State University student Joshua Thomas described his experience hunkering down in a classroom with dozens of students as a gunman went on a deadly shooting spree Monday night.
Thomas was in the school’s STEM building on the first floor when he and other students received an email from the university about an active shooter.
“That’s when everyone started to panic,” Thomas said.
Thomas, and a group of about 15 other students, went up to the third floor, looking for a place to hide. He said someone stuck their head out of a classroom and signaled for them to come inside.
“Right after we got in, they barricaded the room with the tables,” he said. Thomas said there were around 75 students in the room.
“We were hearing noises of people moving around – and with every noise everyone would go silent. It was such a tense atmosphere, and no one knew what to do,” Thomas said.
After about four hours, the students heard a knock on the door and saw someone waving a flashlight. Students believed it could’ve been a police officer, but they were not sure, so one student called 911. On the phone, the dispatcher told them that officers were not on the third floor yet, so they kept the door shut.
In a video shot by Thomas, students are seen in a classroom with the lights turned off as someone shining a flashlight approaches the door and knocks. Someone inside the classroom is then seen walking over to the front door to remove a table that was being used as a barricade.
“Sit down, I’m talking to the cops right now,” a student can be heard saying in the video. “They said don’t open the door,” another student yells.
Thomas said the person did not open the door and the students stayed in the classroom for another 40 minutes before the police arrived.
“I never thought it would happen to me, I always felt safe on campus. I love this place, but after this, my sense of security completely dropped. I do not feel safe,” Thomas said.