ASHLAND — (TNS) Michigan State University freshman Brady Clark sat barricaded in his dorm room at 8:30 p.m. Monday with three friends, a dresser moved up against the door, waiting for an all-clear from police.
The four were protecting themselves from the active shooter, who was steps away.
"My roommate and I were getting ready to go eat at the union," Clark, an Ashland native, said. "We had gotten texts that said 'don't leave' and 'stay inside,' so we went downstairs to the lobby to try to figure out what was happening."
That's when two other students entered and told them a gunman was loose on campus. They would learn Anthony Dwayne McRae, 43, had opened fire on two parts of campus, killing three and wounding five; he was later found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Clark and three others spent much of their time talking about what might be happening and texting friends to check on them.
"You're hearing a million different things about what's going on," Clark said. "We had heard he was in our building, so we went to our room and barricaded." They even heard there was a bomb in their building; there was not.
He said they listened to the police scanner, where they continued to hear both facts and misinformation.
"You don't know what to believe," he said. "You're texting everybody you know to see if they're all good. It makes your stomach go up in knots a little bit. Two minutes feels like an hour."
Meanwhile, Brady Clark's father, Jason, was calling a game on MyTown TV when he got a text from his wife that told him of an active shooter on their son's campus.
"Of course, I'm on the postgame show, so I went straight to a break and tried to get hold of him," the elder Clark said. "He texted back and said he was listening to updates on the phone. He said they were safe right now. ... I told him to get down below the windows. He's on the third floor, which made me feel a little safer, but it was still very scary."
While Brady Clark and his friends survived the ordeal, he said he was acquainted with Brian Fraser, a sophomore and president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, who was a victim of the shooting. "He was good friends with some of my friends," he said.
By early morning, police had given the all-clear, but Jason Clark said he urged his son to be extra careful anyway.
"I was a little stern. I told him not to leave the room until I say it's OK," he said, noting that was when the shooter was found dead. "I didn't want him to walk to the parking garage. I told him not to leave until daylight and make sure there were officers outside, and get some rest and something to eat before he left."
Brady Clark said he got little sleep that night, but once he arrived home in Ashland at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, he was able to rest.
Jason Clark, who teaches at Poage Elementary School, said his son had been exposed to the ideas about what to do in case of an active shooter.
"Just me being a teacher, he had done all the walkdown drills and knew to run, hide and fight last," he said. "That was the directions the Michigan State Police have him."
Brady Clark said he's still shaken and expects the shooting will change him.
"I'm definitely going to think when I'm walking outside," he said. "My roommate and I talked about it. You aren't going to feel as safe as you did. I had felt like I was in a really safe place, but now I'm going to second-guess going out at certain times."
At the same time, he's hopeful for positive change.
"I'm hoping it will be better, after they send everyone home to get away from it," he said, noting he will return to school when classes resume on Monday. "Some students have been through this twice now. If it happened to me twice, I don't know if I could go back."
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