WHS alum Jordan Bechtol opens up about MSU shooting

MSU students seek answers after a gunman leaves a path of destruction on campus. Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson were killed and several other students were critically wounded in the February attack.

MSU students seek answers after a gunman leaves a path of destruction on campus. Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson were killed and several other students were critically wounded in the February attack.

Elina Villamure and Mackenzie Hooker, Staff Writers

Michiganders were left reeling after February’s mass shooting on the Michigan State University campus where Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson were killed and several other students were critically wounded. The attack, which came about a year after the Oxford High School shooting, hit especially close to home because so many students from the area attend MSU and have many friends and loved ones on campus. Mackenzie Hooker and Elina Villemure recently had the opportunity to interview WHS Class of 2022 alum Jordan Bechtol about his experience with the MSU shooting. Bechtol attends to Michigan State University and was on campus when the shooting took place in February.

How did the day of the school shooting look like before and after?

“Before the shooting, everybody would walk around campus and MSU is a very social area where people were playing games. After the shooting I didn’t see anyone anymore, teachers were allowing kids to show up absent, nobody was outside for the next 3 weeks, it felt like a ghost town.”

While the shooting took place, were people leaving?

“Kids were trying to leave but police had the perimeter locked off and explained to the students that everyone had to stay inside. Nobody was allowed to leave campus until everything was under control. 2 am they said everyone could go home and it started around 8:20 pm. The shooter was going from east to west campus. It took the police forever to catch him. He was outside of my dorm on south campus, I was hearing gunshots outside my window.”

How did you feel as an individual as this was going on? What were you doing and who were you with?

“As an individual, I turned off all the lights in my dorm and turned off the tv. I locked the door and put my dresser in front of it. I did whatever I could to make sure I felt safe and secure. I was with my girlfriend and my roommate and we just sat there in silence on our phone. There was a channel on your phone where you could hear the police radio station. We listened to it to see where the shooter was at, and sat in silence and let everything happen.”

What were MSU’S students as a whole reaction during the shooting?

“Everybody was locked out and everyone was in their dorm, nobody was outside and if you were outside you had to have your hands up. I wasn’t scared for myself because I knew I was safe where I was, but I was scared for others. My roommate was at a bus stop near the shooting and once he saw what was happening he sprinted back to the dorm.”

How did you explain what was happening to your family and friends?

“I had close family members and friends call me and I was just explaining to them that I was safe and that the shooter was on the other side of campus and that I was okay. I had a lot of people asking me if I was okay. I had so many people calling me that I would just give them a brief explanation saying “Hey I’m okay don’t worry about anything he’s not near me, worry for others.” I had around 58 notifications after about an hour.”

How have you individually moved forward?

“I would say I am a little more cautious when I go outside. I don’t walk around at night as much, especially when I’m by myself. I didn’t personally know any of the students who got shot so I wasn’t too emotional about it, but it did make me more cautious and to be aware of my surroundings moving forward. The MSU community was very sweet by putting flowers by the Spartan statue and writing notes to the people that passed and honoring them.”

How has MSU as a whole moved forward?

“Everybody just came together and was there for each other, people were putting flowers all around campus for them. There’s this rock on the other side of campus and they just wrote the names of the students who passed on it and put flowers all around it, bringing everyone together as a community.”

How has the classroom changed?

“The place where the shootings took place they shut down the entire hall for the rest of the year, nobody is allowed to go into that hallway anymore. One of my roommates’ classes went online for the rest of the year. My classes were all online to begin with so it was optional to join that class. They also had Zoom meetings for students who are comfortable with going to class.”

What kind of support have you or the school seen since the shooting? 

“They gave us so much support, teachers were offering anxiety and mental health sessions, and they were offering therapists. They were sending out emails to the whole school saying, “Hey hope everyone is having a good week, stay Spartan Strong.” The staff was very humbling and understanding of the students.”

There was a “Run, Fight and Hide Text.” How did receiving that make you feel?

“It kind of felt like normal. Being at Woodhaven High School, we had that happen a few times where there were dangerous people in the area and we as students did that A.L.I.C.E. program training and had us barricade the desks. So for me, it was like, “Okay, I know what to do–I’ve been trained to do this. I’ve been in this type of situation before.”


School safety is now and will always be our number one priority. We ask that you immediately reach out to school officials directly, or through the State of Michigan’s Okay2Say tip line at 8-555-OK2SAY or [email protected], if they learn of any potential threats that could harm our school community.