by David Wu
I’ve been attending Seattle Pacific University since 2011 as a “post-baccalaureate” student, majoring in electrical engineering. I’m a flex-student (meaning I can watch lectures online while still working full time), but I have to be at Otto Miller Hall once or twice a week for lab assignments. OMH is something like a second home.
I was at work far from SPU when the shooting on June 5 occurred. One of my lab partners (also a flex student) called to alert me about the lockdown notices that were being distributed to the SPU community. We had been scheduled to complete the last of 8 lab assignments for our power electronics class later that evening, but our plans obviously had to be altered (and ultimately cancelled, as OMH will remain closed for the rest of the quarter).
By then, the news was all over the Internet news outlets, local and national. For some agonizing hours, we didn’t know who was hurt, or if any had died. Being that finals are next week, and that this was the final “push” before the exams, I knew that there had to be a large amount of students in the foyer of OMH, and likely I knew at least a few of them. This was the toughest part – the waiting game. As fellow classmates individually got a hold of me (some were there, some were not – one decided to skip her 3pm class because she had a headache, one “narrowly missed” being shot, one had just left the building 8 minutes before the shooting), it was one small sigh of relief after another. Yet, it was still disconcerting to see classmates and some faculty break down live on TV while describing the horror they had witnessed.
That image above: I saw it on TV and this became a jarring moment for me. The gun on the ground was just a few feet from a desk where I sometimes study, so that’s how close this hit home. There are frequently times when I’m in that foyer by myself. Later, news reports would say that the shooter (I refuse to mention his name here) had aspirations of shooting up a school.
Thank God for those who were able to subdue the shooter. Jon Meis (the one with the pepper spray) is one of my engineering classmates, and a true hero, as are the other students who were able to hold the shooter down until police arrived.
So it’s a few nights later, now. This was a disruption. Never mind the final exams next week. For such a close-knit community, this is a moment that will forever change lives.
People who are not familiar with our community may not be aware about how connected and tight-knit we are. In the midst of this horror, I appreciate being in touch with my fellow classmates and friends – supporting each other through prayer and encouragement. The faculty have been very gracious and flexible at this time – they are truly there for us. I’m grateful for this school, its approach, and its faith.
There is an undeniable anger, and righteously so. We were violated. My friends had to witness a war zone in our own building. A freshman man was killed. Many more could have been injured if heroes didn’t step in at the right time.
We will continue to support each other. For now, we have to wrap up the quarter – final exams are next.