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After Shooting FSU Opens Doors, Opens Hearts

A three-tier foundain stands behind bold words that spell 'The Florida State University.'
Florida State University
Florida State University


Florida State University students are back in class after a shooting at the campus library injured three people. The tragedy has raised the same question asked after any school shooting – how could this happen? But  at Florida State, It’s also raised a stronger feeling of community and support. 

Just after midnight Thursday morning a gunman entered Strozier Library on Florida State University’s campus. He’d studied there as an undergrad before going on to earn a law degree from Texas Tech University  in 2009. But none of that explains why he opened fire injuring two students and a university employee. 

"We have not found any information at this time for why he chose this morning to act or why he chose the Strozier Library as the place for his actions," says Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo.

During a press conference the afternoon the event took place DeLeo said the gunman, Myron May, was in what he calls a state of “crisis.”

“It’s clear that Mr. May’s sense of being and place in our community was not what most people would refer to as a normal status. He was in a sense of crisis and he was searching for something,” DeLeo said.

Tallahassee police released the names of the three victims Friday evening. They include 18-year-old Elijah Velez, who police say was grazed by a bullet and treated at the scene, as well as 30-year-old Nathan Scott and 21-year-old Farhan Ahmed who are being treated at the hospital. 

Deleo says May left behind a journal and videos indicating he felt someone was targeting him. According to a report from the Associated Press, a package mailed by the gunman has arrived in Texas. Officials expect it will contain more videos or journals that could lead to glimpses of answers.

But FSU’s new president John Thrasher says answers or not, the school is moving forward. 

“We’re moving ahead. We’re continuing to pray for the victims and pray for Florida State University, but we’re going to get through this with the great family that we have,” Thrasher says.

On the afternoon of the shooting, students are gathered near the student union, not far from the library. They’re praying and hugging.  Stefano Cavallaro is the student body president.

"You know I think the student body is just in mourning right now and very conscious about such an egregious act of violence on our campus, but I think we’ll come out stronger from this," Cavallaro says.

And by the time of a vigil hosted that evening, student’s spirits and voices were already stronger. 

By Friday students were back in class and President Thrasher and FSU Provost Garnett Stokes had welcomed a line of more than 100 students back to the library. 

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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