Students Report Fleeing Gunfire on Campus
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
We're on the line now with Terryn Wingler-Petty. She was walking to class near Norris Hall when the shooting was taking place. Terryn, tell me what actually happened this morning when you're on campus.
Ms. TERRYN WINGLER-PETTY (Student, Virginia Tech): Yeah, actually I was walking to my econ class and we saw police cars coming at us on the sidewalk and (Unintelligible). A professor came out and grabbed us and pulled us inside the building and told us we had to stay in there. We got moved up in the foyer where the windows where that were facing north. And we could see cop cars and like SWAT personnel going into Norris Hall and surrounding the building.
NORRIS: What time was this?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: It was right before 10:00 o'clock, and there are people on the ground who had jumped out of the third floor window. And they brought two of them into the building where I was at. There was a man and a woman that were brought in and the guy was taken out immediately and the girl was placed on the floor. She said she couldn't move anymore.
And then we were sitting there and we saw them bring out a group of students, like police brought them out. Then they were told to run across Gerald Field(ph), and at that time they evacuated our building and told us that we had to get out.
And as we got onto the sidewalk, they started screaming at us to run. And we ran across it; we had our hands above our head as we ran across the field to the other side. And that's where I met up with one of my friends who had been in Norris on the third floor. She just been evacuated and she was having a massive asthma attack.
NORRIS: Is she okay now?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: Yes, she's okay. We took her to the hospital, then she got discharged around 2:00 o'clock.
NORRIS: Now, once your friend caught her breath, were you able to talk to her about what actually happened inside Norris Hall?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: Yes. Actually I was, and her story is pretty horrific. They were actually on the third floor, taking an exam. And they heard some noises like banging and stuff, and they just thought it was like construction or something. And she said, a girl ran into the room and said they are shooting. And her professor is like, no, no, that's not shooting, I don't know. And then they heard more shooting and like, oh my God, I actually think that is shooting.
And they locked the door. And while they're in there, and she said that they heard gunshots for a good like 15 to 20 minutes. And she said that she could hear what sounded like a guy laughing after every time that there was gunshots.
And then the door was busted opened by police and that's when they were all made to like run down the stairs and out the building.
NORRIS: Now, she was on the third floor. Did she have any idea where the shooting was taking place?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: She says that she knows, she heard a ton of it underneath her in the second floor. But she also said that when they were running out, she heard people screaming that he was on the third floor.
NORRIS: Terryn, you say this was later in the morning, midday actually. Earlier in the morning, there was another shooting at another location on campus. As you were walking around campus, were you at all aware of that?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: No. I had no idea that there was another previous shooting, and actually it kind of really upsets me to know that there was one at 7:00 in the morning, and they were still letting people go to class.
NORRIS: Now, I understand students have been IM-ing - instant messaging - all day, calling in, checking in with each other, checking in with their families. Do you know any of the victims?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: I don't personally know yet if I do know any of them. There are so many - I probably do. I have a bunch of friends that I haven't been able to contact yet. So I'm really worried.
NORRIS: Have you talked to your folks yet?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: Yeah. Yeah, I called them when I was first pulled into the building. I was like oh my gosh, I don't know, they said somebody said there was a shooter on campus. I have no idea what's going on. And then I was on the phone with my dad when all of the stuff was going (unintelligible) so he was freaked out because he could hear people screaming in the background and then us running and stuff, and it was horrible.
And then my phone, my battery kept cutting out and dying and they were just absolutely terrified.
NORRIS: Terryn, there's a convocation tomorrow scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Do you plan to be there?
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: I don't - it's scary right now the idea of a whole bunch of people getting together in one area. I want to hear what will be said, but I'm not sure if I feel safe enough to go back on campus right now.
NORRIS: Thank you very much for speaking to us. All the best to you.
Ms. WINGLER-PETTY: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you so much.
NORRIS: That was Terryn Wingler-Petty. She is a junior at Virginia Tech. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.