Shooting at Florida State University shocks Staples alumni


Around 12:30 a.m on Thursday, Nov. 20, an armed former student of Florida State University (FSU) entered the college’s Strozier Library and began shooting. He injured three students and caused a panic across campus.

According to CNN, two of the three students were admitted to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. One has been listed to be in critical condition, the other is recovering from being shot in the leg. The only fatality was the gunman, who was killed by police when he refused to comply with their orders.

While there were not many students physically injured by the shooting, the student body is feeling the effects of the tragedy.

Katie Burke ’14, a current freshman at FSU, said the atmosphere on campus has shifted from panicked during the incident to shocked in its aftermath.

“I was walking back from the library and just entering my dorm when it happened,” Burke said. “I ran up to my room and texted my friend who was still in the library. She was on the third floor and heard the shots that were on the first. From what she told me, she ran up the stairs to another floor and locked herself in a study room.”

Conner Lagnese, a junior at FSU, was in his room when he heard about the shooter on campus. His roommate, Ashton Johnson, was in the library at the time.

“Ashton was on the second floor of the library when students began running upstairs yelling that there was a shooter,” Lagnese said. “He got up to run but decided to glance out the window and  he could see police officers sprinting toward the front of the building. He watched as the officers confronted the gunman and attempted to subdue him.”

The news of the shooting spread quickly, both to students and spectators across the country.

“Our Yik Yak and Twitter was filled with news, and CNN covered most of it on TV. My cousin woke up [yesterday] morning and found out, but he lives off campus so I’m not surprised that he didn’t hear all of the cop cars and alarms,” Burke said.

The day after the shooting, the student body is still recovering. A vigil, or period of observance, was held on Landis Green yesterday morning, and all classes were cancelled for the day. Burke said she thinks it will be a while before things start to go back to normal.

“I think everyone is in a little bit of shock,” Burke said. “It’s like the saying, ‘You never think it would happen to you, until it happens,’ kind of thing.”

The students added that there are some silver linings in the tragedy. For instance, the administration has promised to increase security measures around campus and take more precautions to be safe in the immediate future.

“I don’t feel any less safe, I’m confident that this incident was isolated. The university has beefed up security since and there are police officers almost everywhere you look. Even security during our football game against Boston College was noticeably different,” Lagnese said.

The students agreed that it is fortunate there were no student fatalities, and Lagnese cited the police’s rapid response time as a key factor.

“This could have been much worse considering there were upwards of 500 people in the library that night. It is a shame there are people that feel the need to do things like this,” Lagnese said. “I have read reports about the perpetrator and he was going through a difficult time in his life and was extremely unstable. There is no excuse for his actions, we are all very lucky that more people were not injured.”

With so much news coverage and national attention, FSU students have received an outpouring of support from people both near and far.

“A lot of other schools have reached out in support, despite the football rivalries, which means a lot. People from my Staples graduating class have reached out to me and a lot of them are people that I haven’t talked to for a while,” Burke said. “It’s nice to know that people are willing to reach out to me and be concerned, and our campus has definitely taken this as a chance to become a stronger community.”