As a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, I wanted to share the words of my brothers about the night of the Michigan State University shooting and what they’re doing to move forward.
On Monday Feb. 13, a masked gunman opened fire in the MSU Union and inside Berkey Hall. During the gunman’s rampage, he killed three MSU students and injured seven others. It took police four hours before finding the shooter, after which he took his own life, according to MSU Police.
Every MSU student has their own story ingrained in their mind from that night. I was hoping to share a few of these stories from some of my closest friends, in hopes sharing the emotions of that night can help our community heal and grow back stronger. In speaking with three of my friends, that night has forever changed the way in which they lived their lives.
The most impactful and intimate story comes from Christian Mantuano. Christian was in the Union when the shooter began to open fire.
“I heard two pops, and everybody froze. Everybody thought something happened in the kitchen. Moments after I looked up, I saw one of the victims get shot,” Mantuano said.
Mantuano is a MSU sophomore and from New Jersey. He said he still doesn’t know if he has processed the shooting fully.
“I don’t think my brain could comprehend what was happening,” said Mantuano. “My instincts kicked in. I think my brain threw everything else out the window. It was all about trying to survive.”
Coming from New Jersey, he expressed the difficulties the night had placed on his parents that were in an entirely different state.
“My mom was terrified. When she got word of what was going on, I was still outside on the campus, only looking for my friends that were coming to pick me up. She also had limited access to the Michigan State alerts which left her in a state of helplessness.”
The second brother I spoke with was Justin Bonzelett. His story reflects the confusion and misinformation being spread during the shooting.
“We had just ended chapter when we found out. Luckily, we had chapter because it allowed us to account for most our friends,” said Bonzelett.
Justin said that during the shooting all brothers had locked themselves in their rooms waiting for word that the shooter was caught, which, again, didn’t come for another 4 hours.
“Four of us had pushed my couch in front of my door. We all were listening to the live police radio trying to gather whatever information we could about the possible location of the shooter. With all the calls coming in at one point we genuinely believed their multiple shooters. It sounded like East Lansing was under siege,”said Bonzelett.
The last story shared came from brother Eli Krimendahl. Eli had just picked up his girlfriend from her dorm in North Neighborhood on campus.
“I just picked up Alexa. I was literally driving past the Union, and I heard the gunshots go off,” said Krimendahl.
Eli expressed some sense of guilt as he had no idea what the loud pops were until he heard it was an active shooter.
“Being so close and just driving by not knowing there was a shooter sat with me in a weird way. Everyone probably feels like they could’ve done something to prevent this (shooting) but, for me, I think that maybe I could’ve picked people up and brought them to safety. I know I really couldn’t have done much but when this happens at a place you call home, you always wish you could’ve done more.”
Michigan State has come together in an amazing way to show its unity and support for the victims and the school. From thousands of flowers around the Spartan Statue to basketball Coach Tom Izzo giving a speech to comfort the students, East Lansing is already showing its resilience in the face of adversity.
For anyone in need of support due to these tragic events please visit https://caps.msu.edu/emergency/feb2023crisisresponse/index.html for help.