The first sign of trouble was a car accident on Nutwood Avenue, a street frequently known to be the setting of similar fender benders. What followed the accident, however, set the situation apart.
Not many students realized the gravity of the situation until sirens blared and helicopters hovered loudly overhead.
Five men inside one of the vehicles involved in the accident were being followed by authorities, leading them to try and flee the scene.
Things escalated quickly as several at Cal State Fullerton bore witness to the police chasing the men into campus.
Two were arrested on campus, while one was believed to have hidden inside Mihaylo Hall.
CSUF was put on a campus-wide lockdown.
Nicole Anderson, a senior English major, said the experience many students at CSUF had Wednesday was unbelievable and like something that would happen in a movie.
Many students thought it was just another drill, like business student Derek Smith.
He said it was not until CSUF was all over the news that he became concerned. He said it was a surreal experience.
Graduate student Ariel Carmona Jr. was in the basement of the Pollak Library at the time campus was locked down.
He was worried at first because students were instructed to stand against the wall and away from the entrance by the building marshall because a school emergency was well underway.
“He didn’t say what was going on and my first thought was ‘Oh my God, it’s Virginia Tech all over again,’” said Carmona.
As a result of the lockdown, classes were cancelled for the remainder of the evening.
The lockdown occurred at CSUF during the the last week of regular classes.
Some students at CSUF said the lockdown took away time from studying, completing assignments and preparing for final exams.
“I was personally most frustrated by the fact that I had my first final the next morning, but did not have any of my study materials to study with. I had left all my notes at home,” said Tiffany Santana, a senior kinesiology major who was in lockdown in the Titan Student Union.
Students locked down in the library, a typically quiet environment, said they were not able to get anything done with the constant circling of helicopters and widespread concern over what was occurring on campus at the time.
Anderson said that she was attempting to write a paper but that it was almost impossible because she was very distracted and uneasy––so much so that she took upon herself to leave before the end of the lockdown.
“I could not concentrate in the library and was really on edge. I needed to get out of there because I had no idea how long the lockdown was going to be going on for,” she said.
People were active on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, posting their situations.
They also turned to the news via the Internet to get the latest on the situation.
Carmona said another difficult part of being on lockdown for over six hours was not being able to eat.
“I thought it was wrong to keep us locked up in classrooms without food for so long, I know it was for our own safety but that was the toughest part,” Carmona said.
Since the incident occurred right before 4 p.m., many were not able to eat lunch following their afternoon classes.
With no food and lack of a studious environment, Santana said by the end of the night it was hard not to focus on the fact that she had lost so much study time.
“It was definitely frustrating to be stuck in that situation and then go to class the following morning to take the final knowing that I could have done better if I had used the extra seven hours of study time,” Santana said.
Overall, the situation set back many students from studying and put them in the center of a dangerous situation, Smith said.
Despite having no food or study materials and being on lockdown until about 11 p.m., Santana said she was thankful that no one on campus was hurt.
“I am just thankful that no one got injured in the process,” Santana said.