The man hadn't been in Anthropology and Philosophy of Science class in months, when a few minutes into a group presentation he showed up, and without saying a word, raised a pistol and fired every shot the weapon could hold, according to a blog post by the class professor.
Adam Johnson wrote about the shooting that took place in his classroom on the campus of the University of North Carolina, where two students were killed and four were wounded. Johnson described his relationship to the shooter, what he heard and what his students told him happened Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson wrote in his blog post that he heard "earsplitting bangs ring throughout the room," and he and students sprinted for doors in the back of the room. They escaped and fled to another building. Johnson wrote that he was reunited with his other students and they went to a former department store where police took survivors of the incident.
The students told him, he wrote, that the shooter didn't tip off what he was going to do. He just started shooting.
"It was all over in a matter of second(s). One student tackled the shooter and undoubtedly saved more lives. They are an absolute hero."
The shooter emptied the magazine, laid the gun down, and sat on the ground.
One victim asked the shooter to stop shooting and they said, 'I'm done.' "
The shooter, Johnson wrote, had been a class member at the beginning of the semester. He was engaged, asking questions during class, the professor wrote. But the man stopped coming and Johnson wrote he learned the shooter had withdrawn from the course.
Johnson recalled chatting with the shooter on campus either in late January or very early February and telling the man that it was a shame he dropped the class but the professor understood.
It does not appear from the blog post that he saw the shooter in his classroom.
The university said Riley Howell, 21, of Waynesville, North Carolina, and Reed Parlier, 19, of Midland, North Carolina, were killed.
University officials identified the injured victims as Rami Al-Ramadhan, 20, of Saihat, Saudi Arabia; Sean DeHart, 20, of Apex, North Carolina; Emily Houpt, 23, of Charlotte; and Drew Pescaro, 19, of Apex.
Police have arrested a 22-year-old man and prosecutors have charged him with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, and one count each of possession of a firearm on educational property and discharging a firearm on educational property.
The man has not entered a plea and is being held without bail.
Johnson's blog post offers other details from the shooting. Students work in groups on a semester-long project and on Tuesday the first teams were giving their presentations. The first one was a video and the professor was sitting, watching it on a television.
One student told the professor he initially thought the gunshots were part of the presentation or someone had set off large firecrackers.
Some students left so fast many fled without their cell phones.
As they ran to the professor's office in another building, they screamed to other students, "Active shooter!" the professor wrote.
Inside the department chairman's office they closed doors and stayed away from windows. Johnson wrote they asked the chairman to call 911 and waited for emergency responders.
Later at the old department store, some survivors talked to counselors. The professor was the first of the group to talk to detectives, he wrote.
He wrote he dined at another person's house and didn't get home until just before midnight.
But he didn't sleep for another 24 hours.
Then he began to write his blog post.
He makes two things very clear. He doesn't want to do media interviews and he doesn't want anyone to use the shooter's name.
"I refuse to speak or write the name of the person that took these blossoming young people from their parents, their loved ones, me, and their future," he wrote.
He said he will engage the topic in depth when he is emotionally and mentally able.