Southern Union students return to class after shooting

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) -  Classes did resume Thursday at Southern Union, but the mood on campus was anything but normal.

Wednesday's shooting at Southern Union State Community College happened while hundreds of students were changing classes, but the sidewalks are less crowded as a campus remembers yesterday's tragedy.

Kimberly Doss, a student on campus, said, "Classes are a little more quiet. Teachers are asking questions about what was going on. It's kind of a gloomy day."

"I called everybody I knew that had classes yesterday, and they were all fine. I'm shocked it was so close to home," student Matt Hamblen told News Leader Nine.

And Corban Harris added, "I'm disappointed in what happened because I'd never expect something like this to happen at this school. It shows anything can happen at any time."

The incident also shows just how prepared people on campus are in the case of an emergency.

Southern Union State Community College Interim President Dr. Amelia Pearson explained, "Our students as well as a faculty member out of the Allied Health Division responded very quickly to try to intervene and help the individuals who were injured."

Matt Knight, who is a certified EMT, was teaching a class when the shooting occurred. He and his students assisted the victims until officials could arrive, "Our students are trained. We know not to enter a scene until it is safe and secure and I felt comfortable in seeing them and giving aid to both these EMS students. Those two students are the heroes in the bunch."

Knight says disaster training is part of the curriculum, he just never expected to have to play it out in real life, "It was just a part that we had to play in there to the criticality of the injuries. I won't ever forget yesterday, but we'll move on."

Southern Union is providing counselors for anyone who either witnessed the shooting or was affected by the incident. Although some teachers adjusted their schedules out of respect, classes are being held as usual.

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