It's been almost three years since a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, killed four students and the suspected gunman Jaylen Fryberg. Now one student who survived the terrifying shooting is telling her story on social media and letting people know what she went through and what she still deals with today.
Meaghan Epstein took to the website Reddit to tell her story Tuesday night. She wrote that she eventually moved to Charleston, North Carolina, at the end of her sophomore year, but was born and raised in Washington state. Epstein says the day of the shooting, on October 24, 2014, started like any other. She was running late for her first period class and described it as a normal day of like any other. That is, until the fire alarm went off around 10:20 a.m.
"If I remember correctly around 10:20 A.M, the fire alarm went off. Everyone evacuated the building as expected. I remember laughing with one of my brother's friends, joking about how it was probably one of the seniors pulling a prank. Then I heard a bang. It sounded pretty far off, so I didn't think about it. Then I heard more... that was when fear finally settled in," Epstein wrote.
In her post, Epstein describes running toward the parking lot when the shots rang out. She says everything happened fast, and that she never made it to the parking lot.
"One of the Spanish teachers who shared a room with my first period teacher grabbed me so hard it knocked the wind out of me. I remember begging him to let me go, to let me go to my brother's friends. I had known them my whole life practically, they were my brothers too. I wanted my brothers to take me away from the horrific tragedy that had just occurred seconds ago.
He refused, and shoved me into the room and locked the door behind us. Standing there, in that room, the stench of fear was so tangible I still see it every fucking day. It was like my life was in slow motion. I scanned the room, kids were huddled in corners, shoved under desks. The air was so thick I thought I was choking. It felt like that room was 100 degrees. There was probably 50 or so students in a room meant for 25."
She writes she was eventually released from the room by police and reunited with her family. She writes that when she got home she kept an eye on the news reports and learning that a childhood friend had been killed in the shooting.
Epstein says she now suffers from PTSD and has been forever traumatized by the shooting
"I lost some of myself that day, and it was replaced with fear and anxiety and intense trust issues. As unfortunate as that is, it's who I am. I cannot tell you how many nights I have spent on the bathroom floor, crying, wheezing, hurting and just wishing that things were different. But they aren't, they never will be. The only thing I can do now is move forward," she writes, "I am the survivor of a school shooting. I will always be afraid."
Epstein's post has generated a lot of response on Reddit, wishing her good luck in life moving forward and offering condolences for having gone through such a traumatic event. One commenter said they were also a school shooting survivor, from shootings at N. Illinois University.
"I'm sorry this is an experience quite a few of us can share," the commenter wrote.
You can read Epstein's full post right here.