(KARK) Arkansas State University students relived the active shooter situation they witnessed from beginning to end Thursday.
“We were taking our final for ‘Terrorism as a Social Movement,'” said Jordan Mays, an Arkansas State senior.
When all of a sudden, Mays said a classmate ran into the room screaming, ‘Active shooter! Active shooter!'”
Remaining calm, he and friend, Shane Lopez, started helping other students, saying their “military instinct” kicked in.
“We all tried to clear the hallways and get everybody into the classroom,” said Lopez, also an Arkansas State senior.
From there, Lopez and Mays had front row seats to the active shooter situation and the pictures and video to prove it, starting with 47-year-old Bradley Bartelt sitting in his green truck on the student union lawn.
“That was the do or die moment,” Mays said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The students watched as Bartelt doused the truck in gasoline and held their breath with every new movement.
“He was acting very hostile,” Lopez said. “He could start using the shotgun that he had and start shooting. He could ignite the gasoline, which could ignite the propane tank.”
That is when officers moved in.
“I figured he was just going to start shooting, but he held it in his hand and just eventually threw it, went to his knees and then was really submissive from there,” Mays said.
The students could see Bartelt’s face, the look of defeat, as officers handcuffed him.
A friend told Mays a story after his arrest that made it clear what Bartelt was thinking.
“My fraternity brother was actually on the lawn,” Mays said. “The green truck pulled up and the shooter confronted him and said, ‘Get out of here.'”
This account proved what police said: Bartelt was not there to take any life but his own.
“It could have been a lot worse than what it was,” Mays said.
Campus will reopen Friday, but Mays and Lopez said they expect many to be walking on eggshells for some time.
They said they feel prepared if another active shooter situation would happen.