The second active shooter threat on a Mississippi college campus since the start of term left students both at the University of Mississippi and on other campuses rattled Monday.
After professor Ethan Schmidt was killed in his office Monday morning at Delta State University, the Cleveland campus was locked down for hours, leaving many students in academic buildings waiting to be released or escorted off campus.
Jake Lambert, a junior nursing major at Delta State University from Monticello, thought it was a drill at first. Lambert drove past police cars on his way to a lab in the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing, just one building away from Jobe Hall, where the shooting happened.
“The dean walked in and said ‘There is an active shooter, it’s not a drill,’” Lambert said.
Lambert said he immediately called his twin brother Blake, who also attends Delta State University, to make sure he and friends on campus were safe. He tried to keep in touch with people outside of his building to understand what was happening.
“One of my friends, she (was) actually in the building that the shooter was in,” Lambert said from the locked nursing building Monday morning. “She (was) freaking out. I’m just praying for the people out there.”
Lambert and his classmates were locked in the nursing school for two hours before they were escorted to another area after noon. The students were not released until after 2 p.m.
“It’s so shocking. I hate that it happened,” Lambert said. “You never think it would happen at the same school you are.”
Lambert said he wished there were a preemptive system set up for such a situation.
“I wish there was something set up,” Lambert said. “I know the library has a metal detector, I wish every building did.”
On Ole Miss’s campus, students like Radhi Daya, a freshman biology major, scrambled to text and call friends who attend Delta State.
“I immediately texted one of my friends from high school because he goes there and he was like ‘Yeah the shooter is in my building, like I’m freaking out, everybody’s freaking out we don’t know what to do,’” Daya said. “I just told him to stay safe.”
Many Ole Miss students said they now feel more worried about the possibility of an active shooter here as well.
“The first thing I thought when I heard about it was, ‘This is another shooting on a Mississippi campus,’” Anthony Grishby, a freshman pharmacy major, said. “I honestly think it could happen here.”
Natalie Poole, a fourth year pharmacy student, said she was scared for all of the communities that have been affected by shootings.
“It really scares you because you feel like you can’t feel safe anymore,” Poole said.
Caleb Castillo, a junior English major, said he felt that knowing what steps must be taken in such a situation is the best way to protect oneself.
“There’s always a possibility it could happen here and I feel like we have to be prepared all the time,” Castillo said. “We have to be aware of what to do and where to go when that happens.”