NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Graduates of Michigan State in Nashville are leaning on one another in a time of tragedy.

A gunman opened fire Monday night at Michigan State University, killing three people and wounding five more, before fatally shooting himself miles away after an hours-long manhunt that forced frightened students to hide in the dark. 

“It was overwhelming the amount of police we could see up and down Grand River all around campus,” said Kristen Alexander, a Michigan State alum who lives in Nashville.

It was a sleepless night for Michigan State Spartans.   

News 2 received images of the large police presence in East Lansing overnight.   

“My stomach was so upset just picturing all those students and the panic and fear that they had. Obviously, the campus was on lock down,” said Sophie Unger, another Michigan State alum who lives in Nashville. 

Unger’s cousins were on campus and were on lockdown for hours. Students barricaded themselves in dorms, basements, and classrooms.   

“I mean we just kept thinking about who do we know there. Are they safe? Is everyone okay?” Alexander said.  

Alexander said she first received the text that there was an active shooter on campus and immediately turned on the police scanner.   

“We were hoping and praying for more information and just hoping students made it to safety,” she recalled.  

At one point, over 200,000 people were listening online. In real time, listeners could hear that the gunman had opened fire at Berky Hall before he headed to the student Union.   

Meanwhile, Michigan State alumni are leaning on one another here in Nashville after tragedy hit over 500 miles away, in a place many called home.   

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“It hits so close to home. It’s made it really important to have community here because we all feel a sense of heartbreak that this would happen in (what) we would call such a safe place,” Unger said.  

“Michigan State has the slogan ‘Spartans Will’ and we know that Spartans will overcome this and will get through this. We will stand together,” Alexander said.