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Ohio State shooting: “You just go into autopilot”

For Atlanta resident Kaitlyn Crist, reports of an attack on the Ohio State University campus this morning hit hard.

“Ohio State is so ingrained in the Columbus community,” said Crist, who spent her first 23 years in the Columbus, Ohio area. “It’s so scary when it’s close to home.”

The Columbus Dispatch reports that 10 people were transported to hospitals and a suspect has been killed in what the newspaper called an active shooter situation at the school.

[Read more: Ohio State shooting: Police fired at suspect with car and knife]

Crist’s thoughts went right to her friends and family who live, work and study in the area around Ohio State, and she started the all too familiar routine of checking on loved ones after reports of similar attacks — sending text messages, scrolling through social media, waiting to see the safe “check-ins” on Facebook.

“These situations happen so often now. You just go into autopilot,” she said. So far, her friends and family members have reported in safely, she said.

For those who are far from campus today, the best thing to do now is just offer support, she said.

“You just have to say, if anyone feels unsafe or scared or needs a friend to call, I can be that person,” she said.

Kelsey Kempner, a sophomore at Ohio State from the Atlanta area, was getting ready for class this morning when she started getting a series of alerts from the university. Kempner is the daughter of Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Matt Kempner.

As she and her roommates tried to figure out what was going on, another message came through, warning of an “active shooter” situation. “Run, hide, fight,” it said.

“That was pretty terrifying to be told by your school to fight,” she said. But it reminded her of a training video the university shared last year about what to do in similar situations.

Later in the morning, law enforcement activity focused on a parking garage next to her dorm as the sounds of helicopters, sirens and shouted orders from officers to pedestrians to get inside could be heard, she said.

Classes have been canceled today, but it’s still going to be hard to focus this afternoon, she said.

“I’m feeling better now, but I’m not in any hurry to get out of my dorm,” she said.

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