Morgan walked outside his classroom to find a female student crying. He then turned to see two or three officers with assault rifles bounding up the stairs. Then, all the classrooms emptied and a crush of students carried him outside, but nobody panicked, Morgan said.
“There was a large group of students behind me,” he said. “There was a lot of confusion.”
Political science instructor Chris Henrichsen said he was showing the film “Frost/Nixon” to his Wyoming and U.S. government class when he stepped into the hall to get something for a student and was told a homicide had occurred on campus.
He went back to his classroom, where students were getting messages about the campus lockdown on their phones.
“We locked the door and waited for further instruction,” Henrichsen said.
The students were later sent home, but some who parked near a different campus building where the attack occurred had to leave their cars there, Henrichsen said.
About two miles away, Dave Larsen said he was headed to the gym when he drove past a body in a gutter with two people standing over it, one talking on a cellphone.
Larsen lives about a block from the location of the body, a well-kept neighborhood of mostly single-story houses.
Emergency vehicles had the street blocked off Friday afternoon.
Police provided some details in a news conference streamed live by the Casper Star-Tribune.
Walsh said 33 law enforcement officers from different agencies responded to the college after receiving reports of the attack. He said authorities first thought it might have been an “active-shooter-type situation.”
“We quickly contained the building and started a sweep through the building,” he said.
Walsh said that within minutes of the initial call, there was another report of a traumatic injury about two miles southwest of campus. That victim was found in the street, the Star-Tribune reported.
Classes were canceled for the rest of the day at the school, one of seven community colleges in Wyoming.
A meeting was held in the afternoon for the 150 teachers and students who remained. College president Walt Nolte addressed them, calling it the worst day of his more than 40 years in higher education. He encouraged the community to come together, Fujita said
“It is particularly painful because of our size,” Fujita said of the small, tight-knit campus.
Counselors were speaking to students and planned to be available through the weekend. About 450 students live on campus.
Classes were to resume on Monday.
“We agreed it doesn’t do any good to just set the students loose. It makes the most sense to have them come back to campus, where they can get help if they need help and come to terms with what happened,” Fujita said.
The college plans a candlelight vigil and memorial service on Tuesday.