A sad, shocking, senseless act of violence.
Those are just some of the words used by university professors in emails to describe the shooting incident at Florida State’s Strozier library, a symbol of academic pursuit at FSU, where around 350-400 students were gathered as they worked on projects, studied for exams, and were busy catching up with their reading assignments.
But at around 12:30AM, multiple shots were heard at FSU’s Strozier Library. Eight minutes later, a “dangerous situation” was reported by the Florida State University Police Department.
Cassidy Nicholas, a sophomore who was in the first floor at Strozier near Starbucks as the shooting occurred, described the chaotic scene to The Last Word.
She initially heard 2 gunshots, describing them as “sounding like fireworks.”
“People began to frantically run, I got my stuff and my computer and held the door open for 20 people since I thought it was a fire drill,” she said.
According to the FSU sophomore, students who managed to escape the library began pouring into their cars and quickly sped away. She then heard more gunfire.
Nicholas ran outside of the library and hid in a thick bush for 20 minutes, fearing for her life. She then found shelter in a nearby dorm. Nicholas described the police response as swift and immediate.
Three people were injured during the shooting incident. Two of those injured were students and one was a university employee.
Two of the victims were transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. One was treated and released early this morning, according to a friend of the victim. The other remains in critical condition.
The incident was over in a matter of minutes. The gunman never made it past the Strozier lobby.
According to the Tallahassee Police Department in an afternoon press briefing, the shooter, identified as 2005 FSU graduate Myron Mays, was shot and killed by campus police after refusing orders to surrender.
“He refused to surrender and as a result he was shot and killed by officers,” Tallahassee Police Chief Michael Deleo said. He didn’t answer questions if the gunman fired at officers first, highlighting confusion that still remains in the aftermath of the shooting at Strozier. According to Deleo, over 30 rounds were fired by all parties involved – by the gunman and FSU police.
All indications point that he acted alone. The gunman used a .380 semi-automatic handgun and he had extra ammunition in his pocket, according to TPD.
A review of the gunman’s Facebook page indeed reveals a troubled state of mind. Most of his posts were composed of a constant stream of Bible verses, along with conspiracy theories including one that says the government can read people’s minds.
As a result of the shooting, classes were cancelled on Thursday. FSUPD Chief David Perry promised a strong police presence as campus reopened for normal operations on Friday, and classes will resume as normal. Strozier will reopen “first thing in the morning,” he said. Strozier and the immediate area surrounding it – including Landis Green – had been cordoned off on Thursday as police investigators combed the area for evidence. The campus police chief also lauded the university police’s response to the shooting, calling it a “flawless response.”
The investigation is now being handled by the Tallahassee Police Department.
“The response was really quick and it was handled as well as it could have been. That’s why [the shooter] wasn’t able to get further in the building, so it kind of made me feel more confident in their ability to protect us,” Meyer said.
Meyer also felt proud of the FSU community’s ability to come together in times of crisis.
“It’s always been the way we are as a community, to rally behind each other and it goes way past football, in my opinion. I’m proud.”
by JOSEPH ZEBALLOS / staff writer