Claire Papoulias, a Michigan State student, told CNN she was in the classroom when the suspect opened fire Monday night, adding that several students bravely smashed Opening windows and helping students climb out helps save lives.
Papoulias, 19, a second-year psychology major, was teaching a history class on Cuba in Berkey Auditorium when the gunman opened fire in her classroom, Papoulias said.
“The teacher was in class when suddenly I heard gunshots behind me. That’s when the gunman opened the back door of the classroom and started shooting at the students behind me, wounding them. I smelled and saw gunpowder,” Papley said. Yas said.
“Then immediately everyone fell to the ground and someone started yelling ‘Gunman, get down!'” she told CNN.
Papoulias said she remembers thinking she was dying but trying to comfort her classmates.
“I thought I was dying. We didn’t know where he went. Everyone was huddling on the ground and I just looked at my classmates and told them everything was going to be okay,” she said.
According to Papoulias, the gunman fired three or four shots in her classroom before leaving the classroom, leaving the door wide open.
“After he left, someone got up and ran to the door and closed it. We then started blocking ourselves in the classroom while other students tried to smash the windows for us to escape,” she said.
Papoulias said that while some students tried to smash windows, others tried to help the wounded.
“One student took off his shirt to try to stop the bleeding. I heard another student yell, ‘Oh my God, my arm,'” she told CNN.
According to Papoulias, once the students were able to smash open the windows, they began jumping out of the first-floor classrooms and running to safety.
“There was a boy on the other side of the window who caught people who jumped out of the window. He stood there and risked his life to catch people,” Papoulias said.
“If they hadn’t opened the windows and blocked the doors with tables, the shooter would have done more damage and taken more lives. My classmates helped everyone and got involved,” she said.
Papoulias told CNN she ran straight to the dormitory where she was standing until she was told it was safe to come out.
“My feet hit the ground. I forgot about everything I had because it didn’t matter. I focused on keeping it alive. I jumped out the window and ran as fast as I could,” she said.