Student describes chaotic moments after school shooting

Dustin Tatum

Martinsville - A friend of the shooting victim at Martinsville West Middle School described the harrowing moments following the gunfire at his school Friday morning.

Dustin Tatum describes himself as Chance Jackson's best friend.

When he heard that his friend had been shot, he felt "hurt and sadness for his family. Yesterday I ran the mile with him; changes your mindset, and the other day, he's getting a bullet removed from him. It hurts. I'm praying for his family and I'm praying for him. I'd like to see him here after spring break," said Dustin.

Dustin recounted what happened during the shooting.

"We were eating in the cafeteria. I had just got done eating. I was walking, actually coming up here to the front of the school and I heard a loud bang. When I got to the front of the school, everybody was running into the classrooms. Everybody was scared. People were crying. But it hurt me more to find out it was my friend....when I got to my classroom one of my other friends told me it was my friend. It hurts. It really does," he said.

During the lockdown, Dustin said, "I wasn't so much worried about myself than I was about my fellow classmates who were a little bit closer to the victim, but yes, I was able to communicate with my grandmother, my mom, my aunts and uncles. I told them I'm okay, they don't have to worry about me 'cause I'm fine. They know if anything were to happen to me, I'm a fighter. I'd fight to save anybody and I'd fight...really I'd take a bullet for my friend. That's really the way it is."

Dustin said he would feel safe upon returning to school after spring break.

"I think it's gonna be just the same as it's usually been. Teachers are gonna tell us to go on doing our work, keep our grades up," he said.

Chance Jackson underwent surgery for two gunshot wounds to his abdomen. He is in stable condition.

The shooting suspect is in police custody and is being questioned. Police recovered the gun used in the shooting after a search.