TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – In the frantic and chaotic moments after gunfire erupted at Florida State University late last month, one female student in a library stairwell told a police dispatcher by phone, “There’s a shooter, please I’m begging you,” and another caller said, “Everyone’s running.”
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday released more than a dozen 911 calls made shortly after midnight on Nov. 20 when an FSU graduate armed with a gun headed toward the main school library and began shooting.
Three people were shot just outside and inside the entrance of Strozier Library in the middle of FSU’s campus a mile west of the state Capitol. Officers who arrived within two minutes of the first call shot and killed the gunman, 31-year-old Myron May.
Many of the calls came from students who either fled the scene right after they heard the shots, or had barricaded themselves inside the stairwells, bathrooms and study rooms of the library. Some said they were unsure to stay put or try to find an exit.
In one recorded call, a dispatcher repeatedly asked “hello?” while an apparently discarded cellphone captured the noise of alarms and warnings going off in the background.
A male FSU student told the operator he had been outside the library and saw a man shooting someone before turning in his direction and pointing his gun at him.
“I heard one gun shot, I turned around and he was sprinting at the other guy and took two more shots and that’s when I turned and ran,” the caller said.
The female student in stairwell could be heard trying to get into a locked room. “There’s a shooter, please I’m begging you,” she can be heard saying while the dispatcher is talking to another official.
Three bullets struck 21-year-old student Farhan “Ronny” Ahmed, including a shot that severely damaged his spine and left him paralyzed from the waist down. The other two victims were library employee Nathan Scott who was shot in the leg and later released from the hospital and a student who was grazed by a bullet.
Although authorities initially estimated that a few hundred students were studying late at night for upcoming exams, an FSU official later told the school’s trustees that as many as 1,000 students may have been inside the multi-story building at the time of the shootings.
May, a 2005 FSU graduate and an attorney, reloaded at least once and tried to enter the library, but was blocked by lobby security barriers that permit only students and staff inside. Police responded and fired off a barrage of bullets that killed him. FSU officials noted the security barriers were put in place in late 2008 after May had already left the school.
One female caller described seeing someone on the floor and said the person had been shot
“I can’t really tell what’s going on,” she tells the 911 dispatcher. “I don’t think the person is still here with the gun. I’m not sure, I can’t see anything.”
Classes were cancelled the day of the shooting, but they resumed a day later and the library reopened. The investigation is not yet complete and a grand jury will review the actions of campus police and Tallahassee police.
Videos and a journal obtained by police indicate May, who went on to graduate from law school at Texas Tech, thought he was being watched and targeted by the government. He also complained to police and property managers in New Mexico that cameras were watching him in his apartment and that he heard voices talking about and laughing at him, according to police reports that were released.