By MIKE CHAIKEN
When the alert went out about a possible shooter on the campus of Ohio State University, Morgan Ouellette found herself in the middle of the emergency that elicited news alerts across the country Monday morning.
Assorted news reports after the incident had been resolved said the suspect had been killed after sending several people to the hospital and sending the campus into a lockdown.
The university released a statement afterward stating. “A suspect has been shot and reported deceased,” the university said. “Victim injuries include stab wounds, injury by motor vehicle and other injuries that are being evaluated.”
Ouellette, a Bristol resident and graduate of Southington High School, is a student at the Columbus, Ohio university.
She and the rest of campus received a “Buckeye Alert” on Monday morning, “Active Shooter on Campus.”
Interviewed via Facebook after the all-clear had been given to students, Ouellette said, “I first found out after having gotten to work at the Wexner Center for the Arts. I started opening up the store I work in and got a text from the Buckeye Alert system that Ohio State uses for emergencies to contact people on campus.”
When she got the alert, Ouellette said, “It was weird at first. We were kind of dumbfounded until my boss came in after us in a panic and told us not to open up and then it kind of sunk in.”
At that moment, said Ouellette, “People in charge at the Wex then directed everyone into our film/video room, which was very secure and safe— no windows, few doors— just like a movie theater.”
“The procedure I’m sure is different for different buildings but OSU police issued a ‘Shelter in Place’ lockdown so literally the whole campus was locked and shutdown,” said Ouellette.
Inside the movie/video room, Ouellette said, “it was kind of scary not knowing what was going on.”
“After like 20 minutes,” said Ouellette, “they had turned the news on for us and so everyone was just sitting, anxious, nervous, sick to their stomachs. Honestly, I know I was.
“But I felt very safe where we were in the Wexner Center for the Arts, it’s as close to a fortress as this campus has honestly,” said Ouellette.
They knew what was going on, thanks to the news but that wasn’t necessarily a positive development, said Ouellette.
“For a while, the news wasn’t really relieving much anxiety because they didn’t really know much either,” said Ouellette.
“Even now (about 30 minutes after the suspect had been stopped), the lockdown has been lifted and the area has been secured but we still don’t really know about much of what happened,” said Ouellette, who added that the lockdown was for two hours.
Once the all-clear had been given, Ouellette said, “It was all very confusing, thinking okay, what do we do now?”
Even with the lockdown lifted, Ouellette said Monday around 12:30, “There is still a huge police presence on campus and they’ve issued notices to students to not go near areas with heavy police presence.”
“Honestly, most people on campus just want to go home at this point,” said Ouellette.
The university ended up cancelling classes.
When it was over, said Ouellette, “I was extremely relieved to find out my friends and people I knew were safe.”
And her family was glad that she was safe, said Ouellette, reaching out via either online or by phone.
“Of course,” said Ouellette, “my mom was going crazy worrying though, but I don’t blame her.”