Student recounts trauma of being inside AU building during filming



TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – A memorial still stands outside the Harshbarger Building on the University of Arizona campus.

On Friday, October 7, students left notes for those in mourning, open to anyone who wants to read them.

Spencer Yeager was one of the students hiding in a lecture hall when he was 46 Murad Can Dervish allegedly opened fire and killed Professor Thomas Mexiner and injured another person.

Yeager said he and his classmates had just walked into their lecture hall when he heard the gunshots and could “feel the vibrations hitting my body.”

“At that point, everyone who was at the table facing the door got up and went against the walls,” Yeager said. “My teacher was shouting ‘close the door! close the door! Turn off the lights!.’ At that moment, I felt like it was a gun. But, I was still unaware of what was going on.

He said he closed the door and turned off the lights and hid under a table.

From there, he hunkered down for an hour and a half, texting his family in case it was the last time.

“I was texting my mom, my dad, my brother, my girlfriend,” he said. “I texted them immediately after the shooting stopped. I thought I was safe because the door was closed. If it was different, who would have known.

Finally, the police got inside.

But, Yaeger shared that he couldn’t tell who was who when they were evacuating the building and it was terrifying.

“Someone came to our door and shook the handle,” he said. “No announcement from who it was nothing. And, the moment that person shook the doorknob, we all had this gut reaction of… At that moment, we knew he was on the run. We just didn’t know who was in the building. Hearing that we were all scared and had to go back, we have to hide or something.

Yeager said he still felt the impact of being so close.

“When I was going to one of the counseling sessions, someone in the car next to me was playing loud music with heavy bass,” he said. “I could feel the vibes of that. It was the same feeling I felt when the shots went off. So that intensified and sparked the fight or flight in me.

Yeager hopes telling his story will help people understand what he and others went through today.

To learn more about the grief counseling services offered on campus, you can visit this link.

Wednesday’s shooting came nearly 20 years after another tragic event on campus.

On October 28, 2002, a failing student walked into the College of Nursing and killed three professors.

Authorities said Robert Stewart Flores Jr., 41, shot Cheryl McGaffic, Barbara Monroe and Robin Rogers before killing himself.

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