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Witness: I Thought Shooting Was Just A Car Backfiring

Oct 2, 2015
Originally published on October 2, 2015 9:47 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Kristen Brady was standing in a parking lot yesterday. It was the middle of the morning in Roseburg, Ore. She was chatting with a friend when they heard what they thought was a car backfiring.

KRISTEN BRADY: We didn't think much of it until a teacher told us that there was a live shooter at the school and told us that we need to get back into our cars.

MONTAGNE: The parking lot was at Umpqua Community College, where Kristen Brady is a student. She hid in her car, listening as the gunshots continued.

BRADY: I crouched down as best as I could. And I was starting to worry about if the students in the science building had been informed about what was going on.

MONTAGNE: Then she saw another student coming out of the school.

BRADY: So I yelled at her, get in the science building. There's a shooter; there's a shooter. And she and I ran for the science building.

MONTAGNE: Other students were already there, huddling away from windows. Kristen Brady called her mom.

BRADY: It would be so cruel to have your parents see something like today happening and you don't get in contact with them to let them know I'm in a safe place and we're going to be safe here until this blows over.

MONTAGNE: Eventually, help did come. Police had students and teachers put their hands up and walk out single-file to the library. People were patted down for weapons before being sent home. Once Brady learned a gunman killed nine people and was finally killed himself, it was hard to believe the news.

BRADY: Not here in little-town Oregon, much less little-town Roseburg.

MONTAGNE: But she says it's the small-town nature of Roseburg that also gives her hope.

BRADY: Everyone in the community is not just praying for those that were at the school that day and those that were injured or those that passed today. There's also the fact that they'll be there for you. They'll tell you, you know what, if you need to talk to me about anything, I'm right here for you.

MONTAGNE: That's Kristen Brady of Roseburg, Ore. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.