Pictured above: students stop to pause and reflect on the events of Thursday morning in front of Strozier Library, which can be seen in the background.
On Jan. 6, one of the most euphoric moments in Florida State University’s recent past occurred when the football team won its third national championship. Three-hundred and eighteen days later, the campus experienced one of its lowest moments ever.
Early Thursday morning, shots rang out at Strozier Library, where three people were wounded and a gunman was killed after firing upon police, according to officials. Known to most students on campus as “Club Stroz,” it was the only library on campus where you could stay and study, read or congregate 24 hours a day.
And as 350 to 400 students filled the library’s study areas and quiet, narrow stacks to get a headstart on studying for finals before Thanksgiving Week, a man attempted to enter Strozier with an intent to do major damage to the university so many of us love and cherish.
Here’s what we know about this terrible event. The shooter, Myron May, had a degree from Florida State, and he had recently moved back to Wewahitchka, Florida, a small town southwest of Tallahassee. He had financial problems and was mentally unstable, according to friends.
Tallahassee Police Department Chief Michael DeLeo said May began shooting students outside the building just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The first call to the FSU Police Department came in at 12:25 a.m., and May was dead at 12:27 a.m. He fired more than 30 rounds from his .380 semiautomatic handgun, and he had additional ammunition in his pockets.
Thanks to an incredibly quick response from FSUPD in the middle of the night, only three people were shot, and none are expected to die from their wounds. May was killed when he fired upon police officers who had just arrived at the scene.
All day Thursday, social media responses from students echoed one theme: We can’t believe it happened here. During its storied past, this campus has endured several low points, from unrest during Vietnam War protests to Ted Bundy to what happened Thursday morning.
We will move on, and we will be stronger for it.
Classes were canceled Thursday while many students held vigil outside the library and elsewhere on campus, but normalcy will return soon. For any students reading this who might have felt a sense of loneliness on campus today as fear and sorrow swirled, just know that there are thousands of alumni who would have given anything to be there for you today.
And we stand behind you, 100 percent, from afar.
It’s hard to make sense of a senseless event on a campus where current and former students have always felt completely safe, but I believe in Florida State University, its faculty and student body, and I know they’re only going to get closer from this moment on. There’s too much good within those classrooms and dormitories.
If you’re heading down to the football game this weekend, as I wish I was, be sure to give someone a hug if they appear to be hurting. Make it feel like the family we are, and bring as much energy to the campus as you possibly can.
Let’s go, ‘Noles.