By Adnan Abbasi, Reporter
Yesterday, while I was taking a test in the right room that you see behind the counter of the Testing Center, a room in the Student Conference Center, a test administrator came into the room and told my notetaker and I to stop taking my test and follow her, as there was an emergency in progress. I thought it was just a drill, as I had never been a part of something like this; but then again, I had only been on campus for two semesters.
After 15 minutes, I got restless with the alarm repeating on the loudspeakers, so I tried looking for an explanation of what was happening on my cell phone and the internet. I looked at Lone Star College’s official Twitter, but it did not have any explanation other than there was an emergency at the Kingwood campus. I searched the internet and found nothing. Finally, on Twitter once again, I searched Lone Star College-Kingwood instead of the official page.
That’s where things got dicey. People were reporting that they were testing the alarm, that it was a drill, that it was just a prank and other unsubstantiated claims.
My friend on Facebook, who was in the LIB Building at the time of the incident, confirmed this, though. I was panicking for my friend, but I kept a cool head and stayed calm. After this, we heard a knock on the closed door. The proctor got up from his seat and asked who it was. No answer, so he just sat down.
After what seemed like an eternity, the proctor looked out the windowed door and noticed a gentleman who was in all camouflage holding a semi-automatic rifle. He told us he had other officers coming behind him.
When the officers knocked on the door, they told us to come out of the room with our hands in the air. Of course, with me being disabled and in an electric chair, I had to keep one hand down, which was not a problem for the officers, but in my mind, I was thinking, how can they be sure about me? Worst-case scenarios rushed into my brain, such as what if the rifleman did not believe me when I couldn’t lift both my arms. What would happen then? Thankfully, the officer did not believe I was a threat.
After we were all in the hall, a student said aloud how the officers expected us to keep our hands in the air for so long. The officer told him to just cooperate, that he knew he was scared. Of course, he made a sly remark and he brushed it off, but it could have been way worse, is what I was thinking.
At this point, we were led to the stairs at the end of the hall. With me being in a wheelchair, though one of the officers exclaimed to the rifleman that I was unable to go down the stairs. He looked at me with concern, as if he was genuinely worried about my well-being, but almost immediately asked the proctor, who was behind me at the time, if he was with me, and where the nearest elevator was located.
The proctor said no, but that he was willing to be with me. He then pointed in the opposite direction of the stairs and said that the elevator was down the hall. The rifleman led us down the hall and pushed the elevator call button. I entered first, the proctor following, and so on. As we went down, the rifleman was serious, as he should have been, but I noticed a bit of worry. Not much, since he had a rifle with him, but still. It was reassuring to me, at least, that we were dealing with a person and not a programmed individual to protect us.
As we left through doors to the SCC building, I went out into the sun and down the ramp to the left where everyone who had been evacuated was gathered. At this time, I couldn’t see the proctor who was following me but was with other individuals being guarded by police officers.
My mother, obviously worried about me, had been texting me while I was on the move. I finally got the chance to text her, and she told me that she was on the way to pick me up. Twenty minutes later, she texted me that she was at the APA parking lot; I was outside of the SCC. After much deliberation about me not being able to go into the building, she came around the building and parked in the parking lot of the doctors’ offices adjacent to the SCC entrance, walked over to me and hugged me. We left at 4:00 pm because I had gotten a message that the All Clear had been given to the Kingwood campus through a text alert at 4:30.
I was not worried while the incident was happening, but that night, as I lay awake, I thought about the disabled individuals on campus. I let the Kingwood Student Leadership chat know that I would be attending the next Active Shooter Training. There must be a way for disabled people to be safe; the police must have some sort of protection for disabled individuals. This incident gave me some chills; not much, but enough for me to be vigilant and aware of my surroundings, which is a grand thing in this climate in which we live, especially in Texas.