PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Students and alumni nationwide from Michigan State University, including from right here in Hampton Roads, continue to process Monday night’s tragedy on campus.

A shooter opened fire on the university’s campus in East Lansing, Michigan, killing three students and injuring 5 others.

Virginia Beach native and former WAVY-TV 10 Sports Intern Jacob Phillips is a senior journalism and English major at MSU. He returned home from an evening class around 7:30 p.m. and was settling in for the night when he received a text from the university that put him on alert.

“It says, ‘MSU Police report shots fired. Incident occurring on or near the East Lansing campus. Secure in place immediately. Run, hide, fight,” he said.

It’s the message sent out not long after a gunman opened fire on campus.

At that moment, Phillips and his roommate began listening to an online police scanner to stay informed. They quickly learned the incident happened about a 15 or 20-minute walk from their on-campus suite.

“At the time, we’re thinking, ‘Okay, it’s close to the other side of campus. We’re going to shut all of our lights off, close our blinds and shut our windows. Lock our doors and everything,’” said Phillips.

Then they heard some reports over the scanner about possible incidents within five minutes of them. That’s when they decided to barricade themselves in with their dresser.

“We sat on the floor of our bathroom trying to be as quiet as possible, texting and calling family, for close to four hours,” he said.

Thankfully, they’re unharmed and safe. He says all on-campus activities are canceled until Thursday.

Now, he and the rest of the community begin to process what happened.

“It’s heartbreaking that such an amazing place is now, you know, joins a list of places where that it’s not just a possibility anymore, that it did happen,” he said.

Students, however, aren’t alone in processing all of this. 

A member of the WAVY-TV 10 family, Director Reba Bloom, is a proud MSU Spartan and Vice President of the Hampton Roads Spartans alumni chapter. As she processes this tragedy, she shared something she’s reminded of.

“There is this concept of Spartans Will. And it’s more than just like a catchphrase or a slogan. It’s Spartans Will, it’s a verb. It’s the way we act daily,” she said.

So as Spartans nationwide grieve for what happened, she wants to remind them they will get through this.

“These students, that are now having to live this nightmare […] they can use that Spartans Will and make the change that needs to happen,” said Bloom.

Phillips also agrees.

“This is one of the strongest, most connected communities that I’ve seen,” he said. “If any university can get through it, it’s this one.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Hampton Roads Spartans alumni club, you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.