'Bit traumatized.' UNC students cope after a deadly day on campus

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023
'Bit traumatized': UNC students cope after deadly day on campus
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On Franklin Street, students did their best to put the nerve-wracking day behind them on Monday night.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Franklin Street, students did their best to put the nerve-wracking day behind them on Monday night.

"I'm still a little bit traumatized by the whole thing," said sophomore Miranda Shaiwnandan. "My best friend was like, let's go get away ... I don't even feel comfortable going on campus anymore."

The University of North Carolina sent an Alert Carolina at 1:03 p.m. Monday after police reported an "armed and dangerous" person was on or near campus.

Heavily armed officers from multiple agencies responded to the campus to assist the UNC Police Department. They focused on an area near the Bell Tower.

Everyone on and off campus who received the alert was told to shelter in place and stay away from windows and doors. Students in their dorms and classrooms locked and blocked doors with available furniture.

Student shares video of how they hunkered down inside a class during the shelter-in-place order after gunman reported near or on campus.

Six days into the new school year, Shairwnandan and other students were left questioning their safety on campus.

"It's kind of just, it's shaken me a little bit to think that I thought this was like a really safe place, but now it doesn't feel like safe anymore," she said.

A sense of safety wasn't the only thing shaken for students.

I've noticed so many people already having their mental health decline," said Jania Bond. "I've been through a lot."

Students were dealing with a swarm of emotions, trying to process what happened in a campus shooting that left a faculty member dead.

For Bond, a college junior, it's unfortunately nothing new.

The first school shooting she experienced happened in high school.

"I guess I've grown a lot of resilience," Bond said.

During the shelter-in-place orders, students shared images and videos on social media. As buildings were cleared, some students talked to the ABC11 News crews who were on campus covering the breaking news.

Photo: CiCi Flynn

First-year UNC student Bailey Hughes said she and seven other young women sheltered in place in a Student Union bathroom.

First-year UNC student Bailey Hughes talks to ABC11 as she is locked down in a Student Union bathroom.

Brendan Lynch, a junior at UNC, describes his experience as the news broke of a possible shooter on campus. Lynch said it was scary and people started running after getting the alert.

Brendan Lynch. a junior at UNC, describes his experience as the news broke of a shooter on campus.

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A UNC student from Germany shared his reactions and feelings; says the UNC campus won't be the same for him.

A UNC student from Germany gives his perspective on guns and a tense day on campus.

Scary moments, a UNC student said as he described an afternoon of chaos and fear.

Scary moments, student tells ABC11's Josh Chapin after an afternoon of chaos and fear on UNC campus.

On Monday night, UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz offered words to students and a promise to prioritize their safety.

"We're here for you. I'm pleading with you to use any of the resources that you may need and will come together as a community to ensure your safety," he said.

It was a comforting message for the students who showed up front and center looking for answers when they needed it most.

"I'm glad that the police department, the police chief, the chancellor, have said that they're doing all they can," one student said. "But it really speaks to the trend we're seeing in America right now of sort of repeated gun violence increasing over these years."

ABC11's Josh Chapin contributed.