Michigan State students react to mass shooting that left 3 dead, 5 injured

The Michigan State University deputy police chief characterized Monday evening as a "nightmare" after a campus-wide manhunt ended with the discovery of the gunman who had taken his life.

In the hours preceding the discovery were frightening and tearful for students in East Lansing, many who were planning on celebrating Valentine's Day the next day. Some were getting a late-night dinner at one of the campus cafeterias. 

But reports of an active shooter changed the tone of the evening. 

"It's just chaotic - very scary. I still got chills down my spine right now," said Nicholas Tafelski, one student.

"it's so terrifying because today we had chapter and a lot of girls are walking home to their dorms," said Olivia Murray, a junior at MSU. "It's so scary hearing them all say they're under their bed or they're barricading their door and hearing crying and screaming."

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"I actually remember telling my parents ‘I felt safe at Michigan State’ knowing that coming out of high school where most of them happen - you thought you'd be safe," said Preston Lyford, a freshman.

Lyford spoke to FOX 2 at the corner of Grand River and Division, a three-way intersection where campus and the city of East Lansing meet. Just feet away from the spot was where flashing red and blue lights decorated the skies.

Nearby, three people had been killed by a gunman, who opened-fire at Berkey Hall before shooting more people at the MSU Union. 

MORE: MSU Shooting: Here's what we know about the victims so far

Lyford's reference to "them" are mass shootings. After one happened at Oxford High School in 2021 that left four dead and several others injured, Michigan placed greater focus on school safety at high schools.

But as Feb. 13's shooting reminded so many, the instances don't discriminate by geography.

One parent whose daughter attends MSU and had previously attended Oxford during shooting spoke with FOX 2.

"She witnessed 20 shots being fired, she lives right across from the union and she heard the screaming and she called me right away," said the mother. "She's got a little PTSD from the Oxford shooting and she's just devastated and so scared right now."

"Now I'm three hours away again and same scenario, I just feel like it's a nightmare happening all over again," she added.