May 9th Email Archive: A Narrative

This to-the-point email was the first about the shooting.

From: Holdorf, Retta
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 4:03 PM
To: WSOM Faculty; WSOM Staff
Subject: STAY IN YOUR OFFICE--DO NOT LEAVE--THE POLICE ARE SURROUNDING THE BUILDING--guns are being fired on the first floor!!
Importance: High

Early email communication was mostly short and between those in the same departments or otherwise closely connected.

From: Fogarty, Timothy
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 4:16 PM
To: Harvey-Hein, Louella
Subject: Are we the only people in the dept now?

The news media began contacting those within the building, and used email in addition to telephone calls.

From: Taylor, Scott
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 4:56 PM
To: Information Systems Department
Subject: ACTION NEWS

Is everyone okay? We hope so. If you want to get out a message to anyone.....

Go ahead and email us and we'll send it out.

ACTION NEWS
WOIO TV

There was little email communication within the building for the first two hours, as people closed up their offices and got used to being locked in. But eventually, people turned to their computers.

From: Fogarty, Timothy
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:04 PM
To: WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: who else is here?

Many responded to this message, and information on who was where was later given to police. Many also communicated whatever information they had as to the location of the shooter.

From: Stork, Paul
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:18 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: RE:

He was on our floor 30 minutes ago. I saw him or someone with a weapon when I tried to fax the phone list to the University Circle Police.

The administration sent an email, which was received by those trapped in the building as well as by others.

From: Hundert, President Edward M.
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:42 PM
To: All Faculty, Staff and Students
Subject: Campus Incident

At approximately 4 p.m. EDT today, shots were fired outside the Peter B. Lewis Building. Two people are known to have been injured, although their conditions are currently not known. Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and I are at the scene, as are Cleveland police and SWAT teams. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

A media briefing area has been established in Hatch Auditorium on the first floor of the Baker Building. To help police and ensure security and safety, we ask all media, members of the University community and citizens to remain clear of the scene.

As time went on, those outside the building relayed messages from the mass media to those inside.

From: Bradbury, Hilary
Sent: 5/9/2003 8:32 PM
To: Klippel, George; Bricker, Robert; Deeds, David; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: Police are checking room to room to get people out

Cleveland police chief has said on TV news that police are coming door to door/office to office to rescue people inside PBL. prayers with you.

hb

Humor became a source of comfort for some.

From: Fogarty, Timothy
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:48 PM
To: Carduff, Kevin
Subject: RE: Stay Safe

do you think Hallmark has a greeting card for this occasion?

Forwarding of good news from the media continued, and was the only connection to the outside world for many inside.

From: Cardon, Melissa
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:21 PM
To: Bradbury, Hilary; Klippel, George; Bricker, Robert; Deeds, David; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: RE: Police say hang tight, put your cell phones on vibrate - checking room to room to get people out

News is reporting that Patrick and Jagdip and 2 doctoral students with them have gotten out of the building safely. Patrick was on the news and seems to be fine, but shaken.

The police continued to search for information on the shooter as SWAT teams gradually evacuated the building and moved faculty, staff, and students to a "safe area."

From: Bradbury, Hilary
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:33 PM
To: Bradbury, Hilary; Klippel, George; Bricker, Robert; Deeds, David; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: police request --ANY INFORMATION ABOUT SHOOTER??
Importance: High

Police asked does any one have ANY kind of information on shooter? who is this? Anything at all. Reply I will relay to police. Otherwise stay put, be safe etc

hb

George Klippel did in fact have some information to pass on, having seen the gunman twice.

From: Klippel, George
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:36 PM
To: Bradbury, Hilary; Bricker, Robert; Deeds, David; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: RE: police request --ANY INFORMATION ABOUT SHOOTER??

This is what I've been sending to Jill.
George

Didn't look like it. I'd say former military. Black or dark skinned, about 5'8 170. He had on a flack jacker, helmet and was either carrying a AK47 or M16. I believe he had set to full automatic for most of his shots. It looked like he had quite a few magazines on his vest.

The SWAT team had moved many people into a safe room by this point, and some people on the fifth floor heard them in the hallway, but they did not arrive right away.

From: Rennecker, Julie
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:22 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: RE: how are you doing

I heard these guys talking about having an exit route clear, etc.--where did they go? Are you still here?

After a while, they came up again.

From: Paul Stork
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:56 PM
To: Colleen Gepperth
Subject: Re: RE: RE: how are you doing

Are you hearing the voices?

The use of email mostly ended with the news that the shooter had been captured.

From: Deeds, David
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 11:03 PM
To: Bradbury, Hilary; Klippel, George; Bricker, Robert; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: RE: police request --ANY INFORMATION ABOUT SHOOTER??

They got him!! News is reporting the police have him in custody!

There was some concern however, as the police cautioned that there could still be more gunman involved.

From: Cardon, Melissa
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 11:06 PM
To: Deeds, David; Bradbury, Hilary; Klippel, George; Bricker, Robert; Cooper, David; WSOM Staff; WSOM Faculty
Subject: RE: police request --ANY INFORMATION ABOUT SHOOTER??

But if you are still in the building, please lay low until the SWAT team comes to get you, to make sure you are safe. They are still saying there may be more than 1 shooter involved, although this is not likely.

A few of the letters written over the next few days by those trapped in the building are available on the aftermath page.