Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 289 2016
went directly to the turnstiles to swipe their personal IDs. The turnstiles
controlled entrance into the busy first-floor Learning Commons.
These security measures, along with a close relationship with the FSUPD,
had dramatically reduced problems in Strozier and established it as a safe
and secure destination all hours of the night and day. On November 20,
however, the security measures were put to the test.
In the days that followed, this account of the November 20 shooting at
Strozier Library emerged:
Myron May, the shooter, had graduated from FSU 10 years earlier. He left to
earn a law degree in Texas and then worked as an attorney, but had recently
returned to Florida, reportedly suffering from mental health issues. Security
camera footage shows May entering Strozier Library’s lobby at 12:26 a.m.
He approaches the turnstiles and stares at them, apparently perplexed. He
turns, walks out of the lobby onto the library steps, and starts shooting. One
student falls, seriously injured. A second student is grazed by a shot. For a
third student, two library books in his backpack stop a bullet from entering
his back. Fear sends everyone in the area running for shelter.
May then re-enters the lobby, brandishing his gun, as the two security
desk attendants dive under the counter. May fires at them once and tries a
second time, but the gun misfires. He then turns and retreats to a far corner
of the lobby to check his gun. One of the security attendants emerges from
under the desk clutching his leg and hops as fast as he can through the
turnstiles and into the Learning Commons.
May then exits onto the library steps again, unaware that the police have
arrived. Within seconds gunfire explodes, clouds of smoke erupt, and one
of the plate glass windows shatters. With that, Myron May is dead and his
rampage ended.
In hindsight it’s a simple, though horrifying, narrative. As that night
unfolded, however, the events were anything but straightforward.
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