SHERMAN, TX -- A recent Sherman High School grad is a freshman at Northern Illinois University this year. He spoke with Emi FitzGerald via phone on the atmosphere on campus after a gunman shot and killed at least five people before killing himself.
Jeff Dick said most students went home after the tragic events. He’s going to an aunt's house who lives in the area.
"You never think it's going happen where you're at," he said.
It’s the unthinkable. A man dressed in black kills five people including himself in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University.
Jeff Dick is a freshman at Northern, and was preparing to leave on a golf trip when the campus went on lockdown. He stayed in a teammate's apartment until authorities said the campus was secure.
"It's just weird because I was walking by the building today and it happened,” he said. “It's just kind of scary."
Parents Greg and Lisa Dick, both Northern Illinois grads, say Jeff called them immediately to let them know he was safe and unharmed.
"As a mother even though you know he's safe you don't realize all the ramifications of it, and it's scary," Lisa said.
Jeff said in December, authorities found a threatening message written on a restroom wall at a dorm on campus.
"Virginia Tech messed up having only one shooter, that's what he wrote,” he said. “I mean, they dismissed it saying it wasn't a threat anymore so we kind of forgot about it and here it is again."
Officials don't know if that message is related to this event, but it's something that no one in DeKalb will forget anytime soon.
"You're always going to have this in your mind from now on while you're walking by the building and see something suspicious you're going to think of that."
The Dicks say DeKalb is a city about the size of Sherman. Already students from Virginia Tech are emailing Northern students to provide comfort and encouragement in tragedy.