As news of the deadly shooting at Michigan State University was unfolding Monday night, FOX 2’s Deena Centofanti called to speak on the safety of her two children who are students at the university.
Deena has a son and a daughter who attend MSU, and she’s heard from both of them since the shooting began. Her son was playing basketball and had to be evacuated, and her daughter was in an apartment close to campus and was one of the countless people sheltering in place as police continued to search for the gunman.
"She’s been sheltering in her apartment, avoiding windows, trying to barricade doors and trying to stay safe. It’s a terrifying situation," Deena said.
According to MSU, shots were first fired inside Berkey Hall, an academic building, at 8:18 p.m, which is on the northern boundary of campus in East Lansing.
Police were still searching for the gunman several hours later before finding him deceased around midnight from an assumed self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"That campus, it’s one of the largest campuses in the United States. I mean, we’re talking thousands of acres. We’ve got hundreds of buildings on that campus, we’ve got woods, the Cedar River - it’s elaborate. It is a beautiful campus, when you think about those hundreds of buildings and looking for a suspect, it’s daunting to me," Deena said.
"That is part of the fear that’s created as these kids sneak a peek out the window trying to figure out what’s going on out there, there’s just so many places that someone could hide and that’s the terrifying part of this."
She said, to her knowledge, neither of her kids was in close enough proximity to the shooting to have heard gunshots.
Michigan State Police said three people were killed and five others were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, some life-threatening.
"Even though I know my two Michigan State kids are OK, the sickness I feel in the pit of my stomach is just heartwrenching," Deena said.
"Our little bubble of safety has been shattered. And the thought that, these kids are finally going to college; we celebrated that this was the first so-called "normal" year post COVID, where they were finally, my junior in college was finally getting to go into buildings and classrooms and feel like a college student. And here we are, once again."
Michigan State has about 50,000 students. East Lansing is about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.
Authorities announced late Monday that all campus activities would be canceled for 48 hours, including athletics and classes. Via Twitter, people were advised not to come to campus Tuesday.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.