wjxt logo

FSU shooting survivor can't 'forget smell of gun powder'

Photo does not have a caption

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University is about to mark a somber anniversary.

Friday will be one year since Myron May walked into the campus library and opened fire.

A woman who was near the line of fire said she has no bitterness toward May.

"He had mental issues. People suffer from mental illnesses every day," Paige McPhadden said. "He just snapped."

McPhadden could have died on Nov. 20 last year when a burst of gunfire left three people wounded, including Nathan Scott.

These days, Scott can be found sitting behind the same desk he and McPhadden hid under when the Strozier Library was attacked last year.

"I said 'No, no, no,' and that's when I got shot," Scott said.

Security video shows Scott being shot, then May pointed the gun at McPhadden. A click, click, click can be heard, but the gun doesn't fire.

"I'll never forget the smell of the gun powder," McPhadden said.

McPhadden said she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is seeing a counselor.

"Some nights, I sleep. Some nights, I don't. But it's something I've got to live with," McPhadden said.

Scott said he is about to leave the library for an engineering job.

"My life hasn't changed a whole lot, which is, I guess, a good thing," Scott said.. "I got pretty lucky, I think, with the extent of my injuries. They could have been a lot more serious."

McPhadden changed jobs in August and is hoping to take the medical school admission test. She said she thinks about her brush with death almost every day.

"Life is short, and that day brought that to my realization," McPhadden said. "I realized that you have to live every day like it's your last. "

Neither Scott nor McPhadden said they hold a grudge against May, who was shot and killed by police.

"Basically, he thought that if he carried out this action, the voices in his head would stop," Scott said. 

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.