‘Incomprehensible’: Michigan State and Sandy Hook survivor’s emotional plea

Michigan State student who survived Sandy Hook speaks out

Source: TikTok/Jackie Matthews

An American student has gone viral with a heart-wrenching plea, after surviving Monday’s horrifying shooting attack at a Michigan university.

Jackie Matthews, 21, uploaded her emotional plea to TikTok after a gunman opened fire across the street from her at Michigan State University, killing two people and injuring several others in the latest mass shooting to rock the US.

In her video – since seen on TikTok and in an accompanying tweet by millions of people – Ms Matthews revealed she had also survived the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She said she crouched in the corner of a classroom as a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in one of the worst attacks the US has seen.

“It’s not OK,” Ms Matthew, who is now studying law at Michigan State, said.

“We can no longer allow this to happen. We can no longer be complacent.”

Three people were killed and several others wounded when a gunman opened fire at the university’s East Lansing campus on Monday night (local time).

Anthony Dwayne McRae, the 43-year-old gunman, later turned his gun on himself. Police say they have “no idea why” he embarked on his deadly rampage.

A two-page notebook found in McRae’s backpack referenced other shootings in the US. He also wrote of schools in New Jersey and claimed there were “20 of him” who would carry out such shootings, CNN reports.

The note led police to believe McRae might have planned to target two New Jersey schools, although he had no known links to the university in East Lansing, about 145 kilometres north-west of Detroit.

Ms Matthews was in sixth grade at Reed Intermediate School when a killer opened fire at the neighbouring Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In her video, she revealed she spent hours hiding in a corner of her classroom as the 2012 shooting unfolded.

“When I was crouched in the corner in school in Newtown, Connecticut on 12/14/12, I was hunched in the corner with my classmates for so long that I actually had a PTSD fracture in my L4-L5 in my right lower back,” she said.

“I now have a full-blown PTSD fracture that flares up any time I am in a stressful situation.”

When McRae began firing on Monday, Ms Matthews was in a building opposite.

“It is almost 1am and I am currently directly across the street from where the shootings at Michigan State occurred. I am 21 years old and this is the second mass shooting I have now lived through,” she said.

Ms Matthews recalled her trauma as a result of Sandy Hook, revealing that she still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

sandy hook remington

Twenty students and six teachers were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. Photo: Getty

She said it was “incomprehensible” that she had endured another mass shooting.

“My heart goes out to all the families and the friends and victims of the Michigan State shooting,” she said.

“But we can no longer just provide love and prayers. There needs to be legislation. There needs to be action. It’s not OK. We can no longer allow this to happen. We can no longer be complacent.”

She concluded by saying she would forever be “Sandy Hook strong” and “Spartan strong”, a reference to Michigan State’s mascot.

Ms Matthews’ video quickly went viral on Tuesday (US time). She told that many people had contacted her for support, saying she wasn’t the only one to have endured more than one such attack.

They included those still reeling from a shooting at Oxford High School, just outside Detroit. In November 2021, a 15-year-old gunman shot and shot dead four students and injured seven others.

“There are no words to ever describe the amount of emotion that I have felt over the past 24 hours, to just know that there are other people in this situation,” Ms Matthews said.

“I mean, there are many Oxford students who attend Michigan State and many people who have reached out to me, saying that I am not one only one who has experienced this.”

The scene at the university after Monday's shooting

Source: Twitter/Russell Jakubowski

Potential third trial for Jones

Ms Matthews’ emotional statement came as parents of a six-year-old killed in the Sandy Hook sought a third trial against Infowars host Alex Jones.

Jones, a well-known right-wing conspiracy theorist, had claimed for years that the shooting was staged as part of a government plot to seize Americans’ guns.

He has since acknowledged it occurred. But Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah died at Sandy Hook, claim Jones cashed in on his lies for years, and had subjected them to harassment and stalking by his followers.

US bankruptcy judge Christopher Lopez said in Houston on Tuesday that he would consider their request at a March 24 court hearing.

If it goes ahead, it would be the third defamation trial for Jones and his company Free Speech Systems. Earlier trials found him and the company liable for a combined $US1.5 billion ($2.2 billion) in damages.

Mr Pozner and Ms De La Rosa sued Jones and FSS for spreading lies about Sandy Hook. A Texas court previously found the company and the host liable – the proposed trial will determine how much Jones must pay.

The couple’s lawyers say “Pozner and De La Rosa deserve their day in court” to determine the value of their legal claims and “also as parents determined to protect Noah’s legacy”.

Jones has argued the trial would “accomplish little” at a “great deal of unnecessary expense”.

-with AAP

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