DETROIT – After more than a year of grieving the loss of her high school classmates, a former Oxford High School student was retraumatized Monday evening at Michigan State University, when gun violence would once again shatter her sense of security.
The former Oxford student is now a freshman at MSU and was across the street from the MSU Union when gunfire erupted, according to her mother. She saw people running out of the Union and called her mom.
“She said, ‘Mom, I hear gunshots … What’s going on?’ ” her mother, Jennifer Mancini, told the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, just after midnight Tuesday. She asked that her daughter’s name not be used.
It was a surreal phone call for Mancini, who had just spent the last year helping her daughter cope with the loss of two of her closest friends who were among the four students killed in the Nov. 30, 2021, mass shooting at Oxford High School. Six other students and one teacher were injured in the shooting.
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On Monday night, a gunman killed three people and wounded five others on the MSU campus before being confronted by police and dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said early Tuesday.
“I can’t believe this is happening again,” said Mancini, who was in northern Michigan when her daughter called her and pleaded to come home.
“She said that she had PTSD. She said she can’t believe this is happening again,” her mother said, noting her daughter has other Oxford friends who also attend MSU but were able to quickly get out of East Lansing after the shooting. Her daughter could not because she was too close to the action.
‘I just want to come home’
“She’s in the heart of it and can’t get out,” Mancini said early Tuesday. “She said, ‘Mom, I just want to come home, I want to hold you.'”
Mancini said she told her daughter to stay put.
“I told her, turn all the lights out, lock the door, turn your ringer off on your phone and just be quiet until this is over,” Mancini said.
Shortly after midnight, police reported the shooting suspect was was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Mancini shared the news with her daughter.
“I told her to try to get some rest. She just wants to come home … she said, ‘Get me out of here,’ ” said Mancini, adding her daughter’s father was on his way to MSU overnight to bring her home.
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“She’s still in shock a little bit, and I think she’s just feeling for the kids,” said Mancini, who worries about the impact this will have on her daughter given all she’s endured so far.
According to Mancini, her daughter wasn’t in school on the day of the Oxford shooting, though her friends FaceTimed her during the tragedy and asked her to pick them up at the nearby Meijer parking lot, which was the school’s designated safe haven.
For Mancini and her family, the last year has been a long and painful one: funerals, vigils, marches and nonstop media coverage.
“I hope she doesn’t back pedal,” Mancini said of her daughter. “These kids will never be the same. They’re not the same kids.”
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Story Credit: usatoday.com