Home News Fear Gripped Michigan State University as Gunman Roamed Campus

Fear Gripped Michigan State University as Gunman Roamed Campus


“I covered the door with my roommate’s bed and I turned off the lights,” he said at the time. “I’m keeping myself hidden in the closet.”

Marcus Wolff, 20, said on Tuesday that his usual Monday night volleyball game in a campus gym had been cut short by reports of a gunman on the loose. Minutes later, the gym was put under a lockdown and the lights were turned off.

“That was probably the scariest moment of it all,” said Mr. Wolff, an electrical engineering major, who sprinted away from the building when someone pulled the fire alarm. “Just the suspense and the anticipation being all huddled up in one little room like that.”

Michael Bolanos, 19, an acting major, was in a rehearsal at a campus auditorium when he and other cast members heard about the shooting.

For the three hours that they were locked down, the actors held beer bottles — props for their show, which is set in a bar — in case they would need to defend themselves. Mr. Bolanos said the bottles were meant to “provide some twisted sense of security in that moment.”

The silence during the manhunt extended to nearby streets, where several businesses heeded shelter-in-place orders as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

At the Peanut Barrel, a bar and grill across the street from Berkey Hall, the staff locked the doors, lowered the blinds and turned the lights down after word of the attack filtered in, said Diane Barnum, the manager on duty.

A few blocks away, the staff at El Azteco Mexican restaurant also locked the doors to protect themselves and their 15 customers, said Antonio Urista, the assistant general manager. As details about the shooting trickled in, he said, the mood turned anxious and students at the restaurant began trying to reach friends who were still on campus.

April Rubin and Sam Easter contributed reporting.

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