Virginia Tech survivor shares story, calls for student training in event of shooting

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INDIANAPOLIS – A young woman who survived the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 is calling on universities to join forces with law enforcement and train students on what to do in case of a shooting on campus.

Kristina Anderson was shot three times by a gunman in her French class. She shared her story with Fox 59, Wednesday, a day after the deadly shooting at Purdue University.

“When we heard the first gunshots I literally, you know, had no idea what to do. I kind of just froze,” she remembered. “He walked in. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t stop. He literally just started shooting down the rows of people.”

The gunman was Seung-Hui Cho. He killed 32 people and injured 17 before taking his own life in front of Anderson’s eyes.

“He shot me twice in the back and once on the toe… we lost 11 people and my teacher,” she said. “He killed himself in front of our class.”

Anderson believes “playing dead” in her classroom saved her life. If she had gotten up to fight, she said she would have surely died.

“I saw my stomach moving and I remember telling myself ‘hold it in, hold it in. And just wait for it to be over.'”

Years later, the survivor spends her time telling other students her story in hopes of preventing another tragedy. Anderson wants students to speak up when they see warning signs. But she’s also calling on schools across the country to team up with local police and teach students what to do in case of an active shooting on campus.

“I think they have a huge amount of responsibility in terms of telling their students that this is what the situation might look and this is how you can keep yourself safe.”

She envisions a short course taught in person or online that could offer some life saving tips in a situation where every choice could be the difference between life or death.

Since the Virgina Tech shooting, she also co-founded the LiveSafe app. It’s an application for cell phones which allows users to send tips to local police, receive safety alerts, and even allow family and friends to track the user’s whereabouts.

Anderson said the prevention and preparation for a school shooting is a conversation every community should be having right now.

“These shootings can and need to stop.”