TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A student at Florida State University is glorifying God after he narrowly escaped a bullet that ended up tearing through his backpack on Thursday when a gunman opened fire in the school’s library.
Jason Derfuss, 21, posted about the incident on his Facebook page today, explaining that the incident took place just as he was about to leave the library.
“[T]he shooter targeted me first,” he wrote. “The shot I heard behind me I did not feel, nor did it hit me at all.”
Derfuss said that instead, the bullet entered into his backpack and pierced through a book he had just borrowed on the teachings of John Wyclif.
“He was about 5 feet from me, but he hit my books,” he recalled. “Books one minute earlier I had checked out of the library, books that should not have stopped the bullet. But they did.”
But Durfuss said that he did’t even realize that he had been struck until hours later when he opened his backpack and saw the bullet hole in the book, along with the shrapnel inside.
“I assumed I wasn’t a target; I assumed I was fine,” he explained. “The truth is I was almost killed tonight and God intervened.”
“There is no way I should be alive,” the student added to NBC News. “It’s crazy: One minute I am checking out books, and the next I am crying on my bedroom floor thinking I shouldn’t be alive. Those books saved me, and God saved me.”
Three other students were injured in the incident—one of which is in critical condition—and the gunman was ultimately killed by police.
Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo told reporters today that the gunman has been identified as 2005 graduate Myron May, who recently moved back to the area. May entered the library with a handgun at approximately 12:30 a.m. and began to shoot at the estimated 300 to 400 students that were studying for their finals.
Some students stated that they didn’t realize the attack was for real at first, but seconds later, quickly began scrambling for cover. Numerous calls were made to 911, and announcements were made over the intercom for students to “stay where [they] are.” In the meantime, frightened students inside the library texted their loved ones to notify them that a gunman was inside the building, adding in case their words would be their last, “I love you.”
As police arrived on the scene, they confronted May as he was about to leave the building. He was shot dead.
“The Florida State University community is extremely saddened by the shootings that took place early this morning at Strozier Library, in the very heart of campus, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who have been affected,” university President John Thrasher wrote in a statement on Thursday. “The three students who have been injured are our highest priority followed by the needs of our greater university community. We will do everything possible to assist with their recovery.”