Early Thursday morning, shots rang out at the Florida State University Library, while over 400 students were packed inside studying for mid-terms. About 12:30 a.m. local time Florida State University Police Department received a call that an armed subject was at the Strozier Library and shots had been fired. On the way to the call, officers received word that one person was shot by the gunman.
By the time officers arrived, a second person had been wounded, but he was later treated at the scene and released. The officers arrived at the library and located the gunman at the near entrance of the building. Officers ordered the gunman to drop the weapon, but he fired at the officers. The officers returned fire killing the man. The incident has been deemed as an isolated incident and there were no other threats on campus.
A nursing supervisor at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare told the Associated Press that the hospital was treating two people for gunshot wounds early Thursday. One patient was reported as critical and the other in stable condition. Hospital officials had no information about whether they could expect more patients.
Police did not say if the wounded were shot by the gunman. However, senior Sarah Evans from Miami said she was inside the library and heard a male student say he had been shot. When she looked at him, he was on the ground with blood spreading on his pants leg.
Shortly after 4 a.m., a loud tone sounded across the campus followed by an announcement that the campus was “all clear.” Hours later, detectives could be seen inspecting the body of the alleged gunman. He was lying face down at the top of the access ramp just outside the library.
John Ehab, a sophomore from Tampa, said he was on the library’s third floor when he heard multiple gunshots. “Everyone heard them,” he said. People took cover in the book aisles to hide from the gunman in case he came onto the floor, Ehab said.
Allison Kope, a freshman from Cocoa Beach, said she was on the library’s first floor when said she heard a loud noise and then there was a lot of commotion. She said people were screaming about a gunman and chairs started flipping over.
“You never think something like this is going to happen to you until you have to react in that situation when someone is screaming there is a gun in the building. I ran for my life,” she said. “I ran right out the backdoor. My laptop and everything is still in there. It was shock. It was just instinct. You don’t think about anything else, you just go.”
Freshman Nikolai Hernandez said that he was in his dorm room across from the library when he heard five or six rapid gunshots.
“It was a consecutive bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,” Hernandez said. “It makes me definitely a little bit nervous. I was supposed to be in the library. I had a paper to do and I got a little bit lazy and decided not to do it.” He said he had friends still locked inside the library two hours after the shooting.
A telephone alert from the university urged people to stay away from doors and windows. The alert provided no details of what sparked the warning.FSUNews.com reported that students were on lockdown in a second library and in the university dormitories.
Florida State President John Thrasher, who took office earlier this month said in a statement Thursday the community is saddened by the events. “The three students who have been injured are our highest priority followed by the needs of our greater university community. We will do everything possible to assist with their recovery.”
University officials said campus will remain open Thursday, but all classes are canceled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.