Students hid in closets, coolers and bathrooms. Parents sought help from 911 dispatchers to keep their kids safe. Residents reported everything they deemed suspicious, from passing cars to turning doorknobs.
An avalanche of callers dialed 911 minutes after the Michigan State University shootings on Feb. 13, according to call recordings and nearly 200 dispatch reports released this week.
The records, obtained through a joint records request by Bridge Michigan and The Detroit News, offer more clues as to how the gunman — Anthony McRae — eluded capture for several hours, even though witnesses provided dispatchers with descriptions of him and his general vicinity soon after the mass shooting.
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Throughout the ordeal, thousands of students and residents sheltered in place for hours, until shortly after midnight on Feb. 14 when police announced that McRae had killed himself on Lake Lansing Road near High Street, near his home in Lansing.
The encounter came not long after a caller dialed 911 after seeing a man matching the description of the MSU gunman.
“I’m about to have a heart attack unless I get some kind of information,” one caller told dispatchers at 8:39 p.m.
“How far are they from here? I need to know what my options are,” he asked, referring to rumored multiple shooters, which the police ruled out.
“Lock down and barricade yourself in any room that you are in,” the dispatcher said.
University of Michigan Psychology Professor Sandra Graham-Berman said uncertainty can add to trauma: “The longer (it) goes on, the more likely people are to be troubled by it and worried about it.”