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Erin Burnett Outfront

Michigan Professor Whose Classroom Was Attacked Speaks Out; Michigan Professor: I Told Students To "Escape Through The Windows"; Professor Who Lost Two Students In Shooting: If Lawmakers Saw What I Saw, Not Just Statistics, It Would Shame Them Into Action. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 16, 2023 - 21:00   ET




ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening, and welcome to a Special Edition of OUTFRONT. I am Erin Burnett.

And tonight, a survivor's powerful story. For the first time, we are hearing from a Michigan State University professor, Marco Diaz-Munoz, who was teaching his literature class, when a gunman burst in. and attacked his classroom. And the professor says the gunman fired 15 shots. In all, three students were killed, five others injured.

And throughout this hour, you will hear what he saw that night and, how he and his students are now dealing with the horror, they have lived, and the loss they are suffering.

It comes as we're learning new details, tonight, about the shooter. According to Police, he had a note, listing more potential targets, including two schools, in New Jersey. He had a disturbing amount of ammunition, and weapons, on his body, and in his backpack, including two nine-millimeter handguns, nine loaded magazines, and a pouch with 50 rounds of ammunition.

Now, I want to bring in Miguel Marquez, who spoke to the professor, in this gripping interview that we are going to share with you, in full.

And Miguel, as we begin, tonight, with this special coverage, have, Police found any connection yet between the shooter and the school?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is what is very frustrating, to Professor Diaz-Munoz, and everybody on this campus. There is still no connection that anybody has established between him, the school, Berkey Hall, this particular classroom.

But what played out that night's, it just put ordinary people, in extraordinary circumstances.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, you're halfway through the course, on Monday night. MARCO DIAZ-MUNOZ, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR WHOSE CLASSROOM WAS ATTACKED: Yes. And it was like past 8, 8 in the evening.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And what happens?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: And then, all of a sudden, I was in the middle of introducing some topic. And I heard or we all heard some explosion. I am not familiar with the sound of gunshots. I've never been close to a gunshot, other than I associate what I hear in a movie or in TV with gunshots. But this sounded more like an explosion, like a generator had blown up, or some electrical.

MARQUEZ (on camera): It was loud, in other words?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Very, very loud. I didn't associate it with gunshots.

But then, there was one, there was two, and there was three. So, there was like three, and--

MARQUEZ (on camera): Outside the classroom?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Outside the classroom.

So, by then something started dawning on me, why would be these so many, so one followed after the other? And then, I started thinking that these might be gunshots. And then, all of a sudden, this masked individual with a hat that you couldn't identify, walked into the back door.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Professor Marco Diaz-Munoz was teaching Cuban cultural identity, in Classroom 114, at MSU's Berkey Hall. 45 students were in class, less than an hour remained.

Seconds, after the shots in the hallway, Anthony Dwayne McRae opened one of two doors, never fully entering the classroom.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: And at that moment, we all kind of froze. I think somebody said something about, "Shooter." I think a lot of them stood up. Some of them froze in place. Some of them, I don't know, if I screamed, "Just find cover, go under the desks," a lot of them went under, curled up in a ball, under their chairs. And others run.

And the guy stepped in about a foot, inside the classroom, not completely, just like a foot, and then - or even less than a foot, enough that I could see this figure.


And it was so horrible, because it - when you see someone, who's totally masked, you don't see their face, you don't see their hands, you don't see - it was like seeing a robot. It was like seeing something no - not human, standing there.

And all I could see was this silvery, kind of a steel shiny weapon. I don't think it was a pistol. I think it was something larger than that. And then, I could hear then the shots, and they were just as loud as the ones in the hallway. And it was just a nightmare. I think everybody, under adrenaline, did whatever they could.

I don't know how long he stood there. Probably, I mean, he shot at least 15 shots, one after the other, one after the other, and one after the other.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Bang! Bang! Bang!

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police say McRae carried two nine-millimeter semi-automatic handguns, which can carry up to 15 rounds, in each magazine. Police say, he carried nine loaded magazines, and had another 50 bullets, in his small bag.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Did he seem to be aiming at anyone in particular or anything?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I think that he was mostly aiming at the students, in the back. But there were some students closer to me that he also got. And then, at some point, because when this is happening, it is like an eternity. You cannot tell how long it - but he had at least shot 15 times.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police say McRae may have carried out the shooting, because he felt slighted, after local businesses had asked him to leave, in the past. It's not clear why he targeted MSU, and this particular class.

The shooter went a long way, to carry out this hideous act, from his home, near Lansing's Old Town, to Michigan State University, in East Lansing, some five miles away.

He killed two students, and injured five others, in Professor Diaz- Munoz's class, in Berkey Hall. Then, went to the nearby Student Union, and killed one more student.

Police say, he then apparently walked nearly all the way back toward his home, another four miles or so, before killing himself, just a few blocks away, from his Lansing home.

Diaz-Munoz says, when the shooting stopped, he did the only thing he could think of. Bar the other door to the classroom, so the shooter couldn't come back in.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: And, at that moment, because I don't recall what I did, between his starting to shoot, and what I'm going to tell you, just now, I just - my intuition told me he's walking down the hall, and he's going to enter through the door, I'm closest to.

So, I threw myself at that door, and I squatted, and I held the door, like this, so that my weight would keep it from. And I was putting my foot on the wall, and holding like this, so that he couldn't open it, all the time aware that he could just shoot the door handle, and open it. But the only thing I thought I could do was that, at least I'll attempt to stop it. And that lasted for about 10 minutes, it was an eternity, or 12 minutes. In the meantime, I told my students, and that I remember, I told the students, "Just escape through the windows."

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Several students got out through the windows. Others stayed and began providing immediate care to the wounded.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Some kids that were very heroic, and were helping those that were wounded. And some of them, I don't know much about how to know what paramedics do, or what you do, in a situation like that.

But my students kind of knew what to do. They were trying to cover the wounds, with their hands, so they didn't bleed to death. And then, then I understood what they were trying to do. They were heroic, because they could have escaped through the windows. They stayed, helping their classmates.

And then there was, finally I saw policemen. I could see that by the uniform that this was not the gun, the shooter, but policeman. So, I finally kind of like, let go of the door. And then, they opened the door. They asked me, if I was a professor. I said, "Yes." And then they came in.

It was like maybe four or five policemen that came into the room, with guns. And then, then at that moment, I started checking, and see what I could do for my students.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): It was then the true horror of this mass shooting came into full view.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I've never seen so much blood. There were two girls that seemed to me that were in the worst condition.


Oh, and before that some people were saying "Help me! Help me! It hurts!"

And then, there was this guy, in the middle of one of the rows, who was saying, "I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I cannot breathe."

There was a girl that was kind of stuck in the middle, under - her head under one of the chairs. And I could see them moving their mouths, as if either asking for help, praying, or saying something, and their eyes open, and their hands, doing some kind of movement.

And then, somebody turned, I don't remember if it's a paramedic, or a student, and they said, "They are gone! They are gone!"


MARQUEZ: All of this, the shooting itself, Erin, less than a minute, three promising lives gone, so many others, here at MSU, their lives changed forever.


BURNETT: And, as you said, a minute, but when it was happening, it felt like an eternity.

And I'm sure those images as he just said, it will never, never leave him, or anyone else, to watch someone die.

Miguel is going to be with us, because so much more of his conversation, with Professor Munoz is ahead. The challenges that his students faced, when they were trying to escape, out the windows, and why he feels guilty, despite his bravery, and trying to stop them, from being killed.

And later, the pain of coping with the attack, now nights later, as it starts to sink in. Why he is choosing to speak out? Why he wants the world to know what happened in that classroom?

As, this Special Edition continues.



BURNETT: Welcome back, to this Special Edition of OUTFRONT, as we continue to bring you a very powerful account, of what happened, at Michigan State University, when a gunman attacked those, on campus, Monday night.

The professor, whose classroom was attacked, is now speaking out, describing the moment the shooter entered his classroom, and gunned downed his students.

Now, Miguel Marquez spoke to him, conducting this heartbreaking interview. He's back with me now.

And Miguel, the terrifying thing is that a mass shooting happens just way too often, these days. There was another one after that this week, right, in the mall, in El Paso?

And I'm sure that many of these students had grown up doing drills, right? But they were drills. But yet, the professor just described to you the reaction in the classroom, when the shooting began. And it's incredible what he described already.

Did the training help?

MARQUEZ: Well, look, it's such a short period of time, of such intense activity. And so many of the kids, and so many of these young people, we spoke to, this week, they remember Newtown. They - just 14 months ago, there was a high school that was shot up here, and several kids were killed there. They have trained many, many times.

Some of them hopped into action. But when that gunman entered, some of them were just lucky they didn't get killed as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARQUEZ (on camera): So, you're in your class. It's 8:15 or so, on Monday night.


MARQUEZ (on camera): 45 students are there with you.


MARQUEZ (on camera): This man walks in. Did - and he fires in quick succession, like that?


MARQUEZ (on camera): Did you realize people were being shot?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Oh, yes. The first thing that ran through my mind is like this is not happening. This cannot be happening. It's like you don't believe such horror is happening to you.

And, at that moment, I kind of was preparing myself, to be killed, as "Well if I'm killed, I'm killed."

But these are kids! These are 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds. And when you're a professor, you develop a sense of mentorship, for them, and you also want to protect them.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): What would you do, seconds to act, confusion, fear and chaos surrounding you?

The classroom, at MSU's Berkey Hall, Professor Diaz-Munoz has taught the same course, in the same classroom, for five years. Room 114 is his favorite. The rectangular room, around 50 feet long, with room for around 80 students, has two doors, front and back, and windows along one side. It has several rows of fixed seats and desks.

Diaz-Munoz was in the front, when the gunman partially entered through the backdoor, said nothing, and began firing.

Some students hid. Some froze. Some were able to escape through the windows. But even that wasn't easy.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I told our students, "Just escape through the windows, just kick the windows open, and escape through the windows."

And the first line of windows, closer to the rows of seats, are - couldn't be kicked, I mean, it couldn't be broken. They are made out of very hard glass, probably for insulation. So, they attempted. They couldn't open those.

But then, the second set of windows, higher up, they were open, and there was big enough an opening. So, they started escaping that way.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So, they couldn't get out through the bottom part of the window?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: No. But they did.

MARQUEZ (on camera): But only the top?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: So, they were climbing.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And you're on the ground floor?


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, it was just it was a--

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I was holding the door, telling them to escape through the windows. And probably about 10 or 15 escaped through the windows. They climbed the windows. It was hard, so maybe as high as maybe the top of this ceiling.

And I don't know how they damaged, they hurt themselves, they might have. But the adrenaline, moving everybody, they were able to escape 10 or 15 of them, through the windows.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Gun Violence Archive says there have been 72 mass shootings, in America, in 2023, six weeks into the New Year. A mass shooting, described as four or more people injured or killed, in a single shooting incident, excluding the shooter.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Did he utter anything, say anything, before he shot?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: No. I didn't hear him say anything. If anybody heard anything, it would have been the students that were in the back.

MARQUEZ (on camera): But the students quickly realized what was happening?


MARQUEZ (on camera): And tried to--

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Yes, yes.

MARQUEZ (on camera): --either protect themselves or flee.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Yes. I think they screamed "Shooter!" or something to that effect, so that everybody just, you know, a lot of them just went under the seats. Others were frozen. I think those were probably the ones he killed.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Two of the three students killed, in this mass shooting, were in Professor Diaz-Munoz's class. All five injured, and still in the hospital were also in his class.

MARQUEZ (on camera): It's nearly three days on, from this horrific experience. What are you feeling if anything? Guilt? Anger? Fear?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Guilt, because I didn't throw myself at this guy to stop it. But he would have just simply killed me.

MARQUEZ (on camera): You were also across the room though?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Yes, yes. By the time I reach him, I would have already been, in the floor.

Guilt that, I didn't fight more, and scream more, to get help, for those kids, that were, on the floor.

MARQUEZ (on camera): But you don't know that they could have been saved?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I don't know that. Someone said to me, when I was calling attention, "They are gone." That's what they said, "They're gone." And I don't know if someone said something about their pulse.

I don't know. I don't know when a human is gone, and when a human is not.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So, to see this? See this, and to be the person--

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Oh, it was - it was heart-wrenching.

MARQUEZ (on camera): --responsible for them?


MARQUEZ (on camera): And then to see this?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: And to see that I couldn't stop it? It was the worst thing that I could not stop - it's like, they became like my family, they're like my kids. I have a daughter, their age. So, to me, it was like, seeing my daughter or anybody that age, being killed, under my watch, and on my watch. So, that was just horrendous.

I don't know how to explain to you the guilt, the horror, the guilt, the pain that I felt. And I still feel. It's just, right now it's more like I'm telling you a movie.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police entered the classroom, minutes after the gunman left, paramedics a minute or two after that.

A third student was shot and killed at the Student Union Building, just a short way from Berkey Hall.

The dead, Arielle Anderson, Alexandria Verner, and Brian Fraser, all young, bright students, just starting out, on promising lives.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: My students - my students?

MARQUEZ (on camera): They're engaged?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I have a lot of them, who really thank me, at the end of the semester.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Kids that you assume, would live a full-- DIAZ-MUNOZ: Yes.

MARQUEZ (on camera): --productive great life?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Productive life, and give something back to society, studious kids, good grades. And it broke my heart to see, these two that I couldn't help.


MARQUEZ: So, fight, flee or barricade yourself in, I think we have all thought about it, as Americans, given, how often these sort of things happen. What would you do, in these situations?

This happened so quickly. It was so intense. It was very loud. It was confusing. These students, by the time they did react, to what was actually happening, it was too late.


BURNETT: All right, Miguel.

And next, more, Professor Munoz is going to share the personal trauma, of this week, as the school that he knows, as a teacher, and a one- time student, becomes the latest target, of the mass gun violence; his message to lawmakers, after watching students die.

The Special Edition continues.



BURNETT: Welcome back to this Special Edition of OUTFRONT.

A professor, who survived the Michigan State University shooting, that left three students dead, and others injured, sharing his story, with our Miguel Marquez, and talking about the trauma that now haunts him, day in and day out.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Professor Marco Diaz-Munoz has taught, at MSU, for 15 years. He went to graduate school here, too.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I love MSU. I have the best memories of MSU. I love my classes. I am given a lot of freedom, so I do what I enjoy.

And I love most of all my students. They, to me, are the reason, I'm there. And they're the reason why I'm glad I put on a jacket, and I dress up, and I go. They are the reason for my being, having something to do that is good at every day.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The Costa Rican native loves his job, and his adopted country. He was concerned, about mass shootings, in America before, but never thought he'd come face-to-face with one. MARQUEZ (on camera): What have the last few days been like?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Well, because it was so painful, and so haunting, I have chronic insomnia. So, I have medication, to make myself sleep. So, what I did is, I have been sleeping, the last two days. Just wake up, for maybe a bowl of soup, take my medications again.

But I know I cannot continue to do that.

I know my students need me. I know my students need to know what to do, the ones, who were not part of this tragedy, and especially the ones, who were part of this tragedy. So, they need to hear from me. I have to somehow do what I'm supposed to do, if I'm a mentor to them. And I cannot just be under the covers, and not address them.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): His fear, and doubts, now turning to anger.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Why do people need to hear what you experienced, on Monday night?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Because it's very different, to hear in the news, statistics, three more kids died, or 12 more died, than to see what I saw.

I think if those senators, or lawmakers, saw what I saw, not just hear statistics, they'd be shame into action.


I'm an academic. So, I can present a subject, and rationalize it, and convince you, and turn around, and present the opposite subject, and rationalize it, to convince you. We can rationalize anything, packaging in a way that the public accepts. But?

MARQUEZ (on camera): You're saying the time for rationalization is over?

DIAZ-MUNOZ: The time for rationalization - and I think rationalization is what lawmakers use as a sham, to protect their position of power, and to deviate from the real subject.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Diaz-Munoz now sees clearer than he ever has. Guns, violence and fear are changing America, in ways big and small.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: I don't know if I'll be nervous, every time I teach. I don't know what the University is going to do. They're going to put locks in rooms, so that you can lock the room from the inside? I think that's one of the things that might happen. I don't know that means we're going to have to use gate cards, to enter into a building, and leave.

But what does that say about our society? I think, the university campus, should be an open place, even for the community, to benefit from the existence of the campus.

And now, we're becoming more and more, sheltered, and those who have access, and those who don't have access, are out, and polarize society, even more, between the haves and have-nots, because this is not disconnected from COVID.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Your instinct is to have more openness, more freedom, more--

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Well that's the way a normal society should be, a healthy society should be. But we're in a - in such a divided society.


BURNETT: And so much shock, but we're going to be airing more of it in a moment.

Miguel is with me though.

Also want to add into this, just have a chance, to talk about a bit of what we've heard here, of your amazing interview, Miguel, Adrienne Broaddus, who has been covering this story, since it broke.

I remember, as you were driving there, Adrienne, you joined us on the phone, when we had no idea, what was happening, and there was just a shooter on the loose.

John Miller, also with me, our Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst.

So, John, let me start with you.

The professor, telling Miguel, the gunman walked into the back door, of the classroom. He said, at least 15 shots were fired. And then, the gunman left. And then, now we know eight loaded magazines, in the backpack, right? 50 more rounds of loose ammunition.

And all of this, he - you know, I think one of the most - I mean, he said so many powerful things, here, to Miguel. But "It felt like an eternity even though it was about a minute."

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, 15 shots? That's a full magazine, plus one in the chamber. So, when he walks out, he hasn't decided to expand mercy. He's going to reload. He's got eight other magazines, eight times 14, plus the 50 rounds. And he's got a letter in his pocket that has a target list.

So, there is the idea that he intended to escape. He walked off. He got pretty far away. He wasn't aware that they were looking for his exact description. Was he going to continue shooting, at other places, on his target list, the next day? Was there more carnage in store? We don't know.

BURNETT: And we don't know.

And Adrienne, you know--

MILLER: But we certainly know it could have been worse.

BURNETT: Absolutely could have been. I mean, there was the bravery, in that room.

I mean, I thought, Adrienne, one of the things that Professor Munoz said to Miguel, that there were students that could have jumped down the window, and there would have been everything right about doing that. And some of them nonetheless, did not, and stayed, to literally try to put their hands, to staunch the bleeding, for those, who were dying.

I know you're an alumna of the university. And you know it very well. It was clear that night it was happening, you knew exactly the locations, and could give us such specific descriptions.

How is this impacting that community?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Spartans are strong. But part of that strength - well, I shouldn't say, but, because that would erase what I said before. And part of that strength is admitting when you are scared. And we've seen Spartans say, "Hey, I'm scared. I'm afraid." They are on edge, especially with classes set to resume, on Monday.

One of the traditions, here, at Michigan State University, is to take a picture with the Sparty statue, which is behind me. It's now become a memorial, for those three, who were killed, Monday night.

But you take a picture with Sparty, on the first day of class.

And then you take another picture, with Sparty, on the last day of class, when you're in your cap and gown, and you look back, and you see what has changed.

Think about those students, who took a picture, four years ago, the ones, who are supposed to graduate, in a few months. They will look back and say, "Hey, I am now a survivor, of a mass shooting," something some of them tell me they thought would never happen.


I think about the times, me and my friends, returned to campus. We come back here, for celebrations. I came back, when my younger sister graduated, from college. We come back for homecoming.

But coming back for a mass shooting? That's something people say they didn't expect, even though, in the same breath, they say they won't be surprised, if it happens again.

Tonight, campus is quiet. It reminds me of the holiday break. This is the only time, where the only noise, you hear, is that of the CATA-bus (ph).

No one's here. Some students we heard from say they're afraid to go back into the classroom, Monday.

And Erin, it's not just the students.

BURNETT: Yes. BROADDUS: I spoke with my friend, who's also a professor here, Bob Gold (ph). He says there's no lesson plan, on walking, into a classroom, Monday, after all of this has happened.


BROADDUS: And he wants to strike the right tone. But how do you do that?

BURNETT: And Miguel, I mean, there's the dealing with the shock of it. And, as you say, the numbers you gave, 72 mass shootings, so far, this year, in the first six weeks of the year, to find us four more, not counting the shooter, being killed, I mean, it is unbelievable.

So, there is the sense that people understand academically, it can happen. But then, in the reality, of the moment, as Professor Munoz said to you, it is so very different.

And there is this question of why, not just in the macro, but in the micro, John talking about the note, found in the shooter's wallet. And that's really all we know. I mean, there's so much we don't know, right now, it seems, Miguel, even days later.

MARQUEZ: I think this is senselessness. And you see students, you see faculty members, trying to grapple, and make sense of this senselessness.

I've seen so many students, walking around, they're carrying a flower, to bring it to one of the memorials that's popped up on campus, and they're in tears. Or they're standing there, just looking at the memorial, and in tears. Or they walk up to the memorial, and they break into tears.

It is just it is incredibly hard to understand how something like this could happen.

This guy seems to have no connection to the school at all.

And the only thing Police are saying, right now, is that he feels - he seems to have felt slighted, because certain businesses, in the area, over the past several months, or years, threw him out, or had asked him to leave, at some point. And that may have been why he had that list. It is just frustration, confusion, chaos, and it's going to be really hard, for folks here, to sort of make sense of it. It's impossible, to make sense of it.

BURNETT: Impossible, in so many emotional ways.

And John, from the law enforcement perspective, though, as we do try to get answers, to whatever extent they can exist, as nonsensical as they may be, emotionally, what stands out to you, about the gunman's note?

MILLER: Well, I think the gunman's note, aside from the practical parts of it, there's a target list, and addresses, and claims that there's a team of 20 people. But when you get between the lines, if you've looked at other gunmen, in other cases, he's a classic profile. He's an injustice collector. These businesses that slighted him, or threw him out, or didn't hire him? He has stored these things, and they have rotted within him. He's also a loner. He's isolated. He writes in the note, "They hate me. Why do they hate me? I'm alone. I'm neglected. I am what you made me, a killer."

And the real question, Erin, is I get the places where he had run-ins. But there's no real explanation for going to Michigan State University. You could posit that a guy, who was completely isolated, completely alone, and very angry, looked on that university, as the center of town, where people belonged, where people were together, where people were succeeding, and he wanted to try and break that, which, obviously, despite the tragedy from all we see tonight, he certainly did not.

BURNETT: All right, all right, well, thank you.

And OUTFRONT, we're going to hear more, from Professor Diaz-Munoz, the fear that remained, after the killer walked out of that room, as John said, clearly with the intent of reloading. The fear remained. But why? Professor Munoz wants to be back in that classroom, with those students, and fellow survivors.

We'll be back.



BURNETT: Welcome back to a Special Edition of OUTFRONT.

A survivor's heartbreaking account of the Michigan State University shooting, one professor who says he'd never thought he'd see his own students gunned down. Despite that horror, though, he is speaking out, vowing that he will continue to do so, because he says he knows his students need him.

Miguel Marquez is back with us.

And Miguel, one of the things he told you, a few moments ago sort of that he hadn't been able to sleep, and that he's now only able to sleep, with basically taking sleeping pills, and waking up for a couple hours, to have some soup, and go back to sleep. But he knows he can't continue that way.

MARQUEZ: Yes, look, he is not doing great. This has been extremely difficult for him, clearly. I mean, he's very clinical. He's a professor. You can tell that this is a guy, who is used to talking to people, and being very rational, and intellectual, and intellectualizing things. This is extremely difficult for him to understand.

And he is desperate to reconnect with the school, and his students.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Traumatic doesn't begin to describe what Marco Diaz-Munoz, and his students, experienced, on Monday night. He says, he wants, needs, to reconnect with them, but isn't sure how.

He's been drafting a letter.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: So, those kids, to me, are kind of like my family, now. And I want to see them. I want to help them. And I want to inspire them, and I want to teach them, and I want to help them finish the semester, in as positive a note, as it can be, under the circumstances.


So, there's a part of me that is ready to go, and face them, and pick up where we left off. Not the same way. But I think they need - I think I need to see them. I think they need to see me, and be in a classroom, and kind of somehow build from the broken pieces.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Progress is slow.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: There is a part of me that feels like I want to go, under the blankets, and take more pills, and not wake up for a while.

But there's also another part of me, kicking in, which is the part that - and I feel like I want to not remember these things - scenes, and not have to go teach that class.

But there is another part of me that feels a great need, a strong need, to see my students, again, in the sense that I need to see that they are alive. I need to see their faces. Because, the last time, we saw each other, was under this horrible experience. And somehow, it makes me my - at that moment, my students became kind of part of my family.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): A family born out of violence and grief.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: A thing us, all human beings have, are capable of both, extreme violence and extreme greatness, benevolence.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Love.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Love. I think which what path life leads us to because of our circumstances and our decisions. But we can do both.

In my situation, and in what I saw, in my classroom, in the midst of all that violence, you also saw the goodness of people.


MARQUEZ: So, he is really struggling to figure out, how to reengage, with his community, the school, his students. He is working on that letter. He intends to go back to school. It's just a matter of when and how he's going to do it.


BURNETT: All right, Miguel.

And next, a call for reaction, Professor Diaz-Munoz with a message, for lawmakers, after this mass shooting.



BURNETT: Welcome back to a Special Edition of OUTFRONT.

We have been bringing you this powerful interview, from a professor, who survived the mass shooting, at Michigan State University, and the details, after the gunman left his classroom, following the attack.


DIAZ-MUNOZ: We were still in panic, because we didn't know whether he was going to walk in again?

MARQUEZ (on camera): Right.

DIAZ-MUNOZ: Or he was going to walk down the hall, and enter the other door? We didn't know where he was.

All we knew is he stepped out, and then he could come in again.

I was crying in that classroom, seeing the damage done, and the pain, and the horrible scenes that my students were, especially those two girls, I cannot forget those images.


BURNETT: And everyone is back with me.

Miguel, he is talking about those two girls. And he watched people die. He talks about their hands were moving, their eyes opened, and then they were gone. And he had to see that.

He is speaking out to you, because he wants a call to action that he doesn't want this to be academic to the lawmakers, who, so stubbornly, in so much of this country, refuse to do anything. He - it sounds like, from what he's saying to you that he's going to continue doing that. He's going to fight for this.

MARQUEZ: Yes, this seems to be his hope, that speaking out the way, he did - he spent a good amount of time with us - will break - will help break that logjam that keeps meaningful gun reform, from happening, in this country.

As we have heard, many times, on this particular shooting, the time for thoughts and prayers is over. The time for stalling, the time for discussion, is over.

BURNETT: Yes. MARQUEZ: We know what to do. We've been at it for a while. And he is hoping that his words will help move it toward that.

In Michigan, the State has a pretty good chance of doing that. The Democrats, in this last election, bit of a blue wave, here.


MARQUEZ: They now control both houses, and the governorship, in the State. And they're going to put forward gun reform bills, here, fairly soon. So, we may see some action, at least here, in Michigan.


BURNETT: Which, of course, is, you take the good where you can get it, John. What I find amazing about this is in every one of these stories, you either find the gun was illegally obtained, or somehow it wasn't, via some, often loophole that we hadn't heard about, until that one particular instance, right? It's just it's like it's a Swiss cheese, out there, right? So, whatever laws there are, just riddled with loopholes?

MILLER: Well, I mean, Professor Munoz said, "Where is the shame?" And what we know there is no shame.


MILLER: It's not a - politically, it's not a wake-up call. It's not morning, in America. It's Groundhog Day in America. We've seen this.

So, you think, well, if it affected Congress, they might think differently.

But Gabby Giffords was shot, and barely survived. And nothing happened.

Steve Scalise, part of the leadership now, was shot, and badly wounded. And nothing happened.

In 2012, a movie theater, full of families, who came for a "Batman" premiere, 12 dead, more wounded, by another individual, who shouldn't have had a gun, let alone assault weapons.

And then, you move to Christmas, of that same year, and you have--


MILLER: --kindergartners and first graders, in Newtown, Connecticut.

So, if these things didn't bring the shame that would bring change?


MILLER: They let the assault weapons bill sunset, changes they made ebbed away. Another shooting that's number 74--

BURNETT: For this year?

MILLER: --for the year, isn't either.


MILLER: The question is what's it going to take?

BURNETT: And it's just horrific to imagine that, right? You look at Las Vegas? You have got more than 50. It's just unbelievable.

Adrienne, when you hear Professor Diaz-Munoz talk about watching people die, and the suffering? Look, it's impossible to know, and to even imagine, if you weren't there. But we do know three students were killed, Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser, and Alexandria Verner.

What is the latest you know about the students, who survived, but were hospitalized, and are still in hospital, after the shooting?


BROADDUS: Well, we know five were physically injured, and they were initially listed in critical condition.

And earlier today, we heard from the Chair of the Board of Trustees, here, at Michigan State University. She shared a bit of good news that one of those students, no longer required critical care.


BROADDUS: And the other four, unfortunately, are still fighting for their lives, still listed in critical condition.


BROADDUS: And even though the condition of that other student, Erin, had been upgraded? Keep in mind, if you've had a loved one in the hospital, you know those days, ebb and flow. You may not be in the ICU, anymore, where they care for the most critical patients. But your road to recovery could still be along.

And our thoughts are with them.

BURNETT: Oh, absolutely. And what they're going through, and fighting for their lives, tonight, and it's important.

And we're grateful to you, Miguel, to be able to hear that story, from Professor Diaz-Munoz, and share that so that everyone could try to, for those moments, understand.

Thank you. And thanks to all of you, for joining us.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, is after this.