So for those who haven’t heard yet, five armed robbers were on campus last night— resulting in CSUF locking down for about six hours. It happened while I was at a lecture by a visiting scholar, so there was no student roster for professors. As a result, we were part of the first group that got off of campus.
First, there were two announcements that only told us to shelter in place— which many people brushed off with a laugh. The lecturer continued presenting on algae, and a lot of people started pulling out their phones. I was by the back in the desk closest to the door, and I felt really uneasy because there wasn’t a drill scheduled on the school’s website. The front page hadn’t been updated about what was going on yet.
Then, one of the professors hurried to the back, crouched down to a more senior professor and whispered frantically to her. He then stood up, crossed to the door by me and stood off to the side of it, peering from an angle out the small window into the hallway. This made me especially nervous because I was next to the door. Someone in the audience said, “We should lock the doors,” and then the rest of the audience started talking as the bits of news about what was going on started to filter in. Since there was a shooting a few days ago at another CSU, it was clear that many people were expecting the worst as we started putting our notes away. Suddenly, The more senior professor stood up, briskly strolled to the front of the room and said, “We need to evacuate. Do not go near the business buildings. Leave campus now.”
I got out of there pretty quickly with a few other people near the door and we calmly went down the stairs as instructed. While making my way down the five stories to the ground floor, I asked a student who I saw at a pizza party across the hall earlier about what was happening. She said that a couple of robbers are on campus near the business buildings, but that’s all she knew. The business buildings were fairly close to the science buildings, which explained the rush some people around me were in.
After making it to the first floor, I started trying to get in contact with Daniel— who was always in the business buildings. He wouldn’t respond, so I started texting Vincent (I happened to be chatting with him before this happened, so I knew he was looking at his phone) while I walked stiffly to my car to calm my nerves. I didn’t call Daniel because it was really noisy around me due to all the other students evacuating and the sound of the helicopters from the search. I broke intro a run when I saw my car because I got news of the carjacking at that point and just wanted to get out of there. Daniel finally called me.
He was in the lobby of the main business building studying for a midterm when he saw someone sprint across the lobby. He and his friends thought it was a student late for class, but then saw the police storm in right after. That person he saw was the first perpetrator caught on campus at that point. I fretted over this detail even though Vincent assured me that even though they were armed, they most likely wouldn’t open fire on students. Daniel laughed it off and then told me he was more worried about his cancelled midterm, which he was banking on to get an A in his class.
The highway was packed, and the exits toward the campus were all blocked by the police. Daniel called me again later and we talked over Bluetooth while Vincent sent me some humorous texts to try to make me laugh. I started hearing about people I knew being locked in and that they were barricading doors. As far as I know, a number of students were not allowed to leave the classroom depending on who was in charge– resulting in hungry students who couldn’t go to the bathroom or shelter comfortably. My closest friends who go to CSUF had all made it out or weren’t on campus, at least. When I got home, I fell into my bed and slept for five hours.
We finally got the notice that the rest of our friends were supposedly released around 11:50PM. It was really unsettling to see the tweets of one of the perps prior to the release notice.