Speaking via Skype from his dorm room during a campus-wide lockdown, freshman Kris Harley expressed his shock and confusion.
Harley said he was asleep when he got a text alert on his phone from the school.
"That woke me up and I was like, dang. Somebody just got shot," said Harley.
Shortly after noon, a Virginia Tech police officer made a routine traffic stop in a parking lot near McComas Hall and was shot. The gunman fled and the school went on lockdown.
Harley said the university told students to "just stay inside and not go anywhere. Just sit in your dorm secure, lock your door."
He and other students in his dorm were trying to figure out what was happening outside by watching television and reading news articles online. Harley’s only contact with the outside world was through Skype and his cell phone.
"My phone keeps going off," said Harley during the interview. "Nobody can get in here. This place is locked up tight. You can't get out."
His mother, Terilyn Hoke, told Fox 59 she was so shaken up, she was trying not to cry on the phone. She said she was relieved to know her son was safe and wanted to make sure he had plenty to eat as he waited for the school to cancel the lockdown.
Harley said he was worried but believed things would turn out alright. The Warren Central High School graduate said he chose Virginia Tech, despite the 2007 massacre. Even after Thursday’s shooting, he did not regret it.
"I'm not gonna transfer out of here, because of this."
The campus lockdown was lifted Thursday evening. University officials said law enforcement determined there was no longer an active threat and told students and staff to resume normal activities.