May 9th Email Archive: Fred Collopy

Fred Collopy and Colleen Gepperth were together in Colleen's office during the shooting, so the following emails were read and written by both of them. In general those listed as being from Fred were written by him. Peter Collopy is Fred Collopy's son (and the editor of this site).

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:06 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: News

The news people are still very unsure about how many of you are in there. Richard Bennett has said about 50. There is very little news other than this. Dick and Tom Nickel have called us in concern. You may want to send an email to whatever police or university security forces you can contact if you haven't already. The professor inside talking on a phone to the TV reporters says that emails are being exchanged, and if you're not part of that you may want to join it.

Let me know if you have any questions I can try to find out the answers to.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:11 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: News

Apparently they are waiting for swat teams. We are in Colleen's office, away from the door and such, so will only be attached if he busts in.

I love you all very much.

Fred

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:18 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: News

There are now FBI on the scene, as well as the mayor (or so channel 5 thinks) and the Cleveland Police now have an armored vehicle outside. Some accountancy professor is on TV talking about how hard it is to get work done with the situation; he says he sent an email to everyone, so you're probably in contact with him.

There are a lot of law enforcement people there, but little traffic in or out of the building. I expect that SWAT teams will come in any minute, from the number of cops outside.

We love you too.

Peter

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:34 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: SWAT team just pulled up

A SWAT team just pulled up on Euclid. They're on their way, I suppose. More cops coming in continually. They're also pleading for the gunman to surrender.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 6:37 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: SWAT team just pulled up

Keep us updated. You are our only real source of news and optimism. Thank you so much.

love, Fred

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:01 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: SWAT team just pulled up

We just got an email from the president telling us that he and the mayor are "on the scene"...comforting, isn't it?

Fred

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:21 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: SWAT team just pulled up

Well, if you want a relevant way to spend your time, you can read news stories, starting at <news.google.com> (in the U.S. section). The police have cut off all TV transmission of tactical information, so all I know is that there are many SWAT and FBI guys right outside the building. I'll let you know when there's real news, but mostly it's just fluff about how worried we families are.

The gunman is probably a black man, about 55 years old.

Peter

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:39 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Situation not changing much

Incidentally, for some reason numerous relatives of people in the building are standing around on Euclid. We have no desire to join them.

There is little news, but the police are continuing to strategize and such. I have no idea when any action will take place.

Matt thought that the professor on TV was Tim Fogarty. He was talking on a phone to the news people, and describing how hard it is to get work done with all the distractions.

I'll let you know when I have more info.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:41 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Situation not changing much

Tim's not really like the kind of person that worries about getting work done -- it's just that he has a really macabre sense of humor --we like him a lot.

Colleen wants to know why you don't love us enough to be on Euclid.

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:45 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Situation not changing much

Ah, well the news people took him seriously, but they're morons, as evidenced by their calling Lewis "highly secured" and "difficult, if not impossible to get into."

We love you a lot. Andy says "just not that much." Seriously, though, if you think you'd gain anything from having me at Euclid unable to communicate with you that in your bedroom with a computer, a TV and a phone, I can drive back down there.

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:46 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Situation not changing much

So, see you in about 10 minutes?

Just kidding. We're glad you're very far from here.

We still ok.

Colleen

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:55 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Situation not changing much

The media, in their habit of listening to every stupid thing anyone says, have come up with the idea that you can hide because you probably know the building better than the shooter. I wouldn't pay much attention to this idea if I were you.

There have been two gunfights in the last hour, according to Fox. Did you hear them?

There's also a suggestion that the cops may be waiting for darkness, so be prepared to wait and think a lot about whether you want to use lights or not. I'd suggest not. The cops probably have access to night-vision gear, so they may be more effective in the dark.

Somebody a floor below you has a bright light on visible through their window. That doesn't seem like a good idea to me, although it may be irrelevant.

In the case that you have to leave, be aware of how well you know the building. We don't know who the shooter is, so he may or may not know his way around. I think we're seeing gunfire of the third floor now, so it might end soon.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 7:58 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Situation not changing much

We are doing fine still. Things have been quiet here for a while, which is nice. I hope you are taking care of Mari and Andy.

Love (again and many times), Fred

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:12 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Sound

Incidentally, if you haven't already thought of it, you might want to set the sound volume on your computers to 0. The professors talking to the TV people don't seem to mind making a little noise, but I would avoid it if I were you.

We've been talking to a lot of family friends who have called as they've heard the news.

Love,

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:14 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Sound

We have been practically fanatic about noise, and have accepted your advice to keep the lights out. The way I see it, if we cover our eyes and lay still and can't see him...he can't see us. Seriously, thank you for your thoughts. You are in a position to think differently from us and it helps.

Fred

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:20 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Sound

We can see two sharpshooters on the law school roof now. One gets the sense things might be happening.

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:21 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Sound

We have refused about ten calls from reporters wanting to talk about how we feel. I finally told one of them to fuck off.

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:25 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Sound

You rule! Keep that up. And definitely don't tell them about the snipers or anything like that. My friend suggests you stay away from the window.

They are pulling injured people out, so it should be over pretty quickly. It sounds like they've pulled two dead out of the building, and one may be the shooter.

More in a moment.

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:31 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: One more thing

What's your room number? It may be a good idea for me to call it in to 911 so they know where you are, unless you know that someone already has.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:31 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Be careful

Do not worry if you don't hear from us. We got a call that they may take us to a secured room until they can clear a path out. We'll loose access to email, but gain the protection of Cleveland's finest.

Very much...and soon, Fred

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:33 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: One more thing

I don't think you need to. We talk to the police every few minutes and they know our exact location, what we're wearing, how tall we are, Fred's birthday and (gasp) his age.

Colleen

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 8:50 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Be careful

Peter,

We're still here. We heard shots three different times. No other updates.

Colleen

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:15 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Still there?

I'm just wondering if you're still there. If not I'll assume that you're moving to the secured area. There are still cops and busses and ambulances outside ready to deal with this once it's over.

Love,

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:17 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Still there?

We're here sadly....and gladly.

Colleen

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:23 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Still there?

Our neighbors appear to be putting lit torches and candles on their lawns for you. Lots of people are thinking of you. Continue to expect the cops any minute.

Peter

From: Collopy, Fred
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:25 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Still there?

That is sweet. I will admit to feeling quite exhausted. Things are spookily quiet. We are hearing that people are going to be shuffeled to some debriefing or some such. We're planning to just keep our heads down and beg people to leave us alone. I hope I see you very soon.

Fred

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:28 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Still there?

Paul Stork is on the phone with channel 3. According to him, the cops have master keys to the building and you do not need to open your door, but you've probably heard that too. I don't think you'll be able to avoid the debriefing, but it won't hurt to try. I can drive over and pick you up, as I don't suggest you drive home after this.

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 9:31 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Still there?

Thanks for your help and offer. Fred feels quite sure he can drive. Jim's on campus waiting for me. I think he loves me more than Andy, but that's a topic for another day.

Thanks for keeping us posted on things.

Colleen

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:13 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Still there?

The mayor says that police are searching closets, under desks, etc. There are now 60 people in a safe room, and 10 people with special medical conditions have been escorted out of the building. This is a very good success rate so far, so you still just have to wait for them to get up to you, as I expect they're moving from the bottom up.

"This is not an easy process and this is not a quick process, but our priority is to make it a safe process." —Mayor Jane Campbell

Peter

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:30 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Still there?

Just checking up on you again. Any news from there?

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:32 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Still there?

We are still here. It's been hours since they said they would be right up, and there have been no further calls.

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:47 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Still there?

Paul is no longer on the phone with the TV people. Are you guys gone yet?

Love,

Peter

From: Gepperth, Colleen
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:48 PM
To: Collopy, Peter
Subject: Re: Still there?

We're still here...and waiting.

From: Collopy, Peter
Sent: Friday, May 9th, 2003 10:47 PM
To: Gepperth, Colleen
Subject: Re: Still there?

Paul was on the phone again and has heard voices outside. Do you hear the cops too?

Peter