Minutes after an apparent murder-suicide left two people dead at the University of South Carolina campus, the hashtag #PrayForUSC began trending across social media as people expressed sympathy for those affected by the tragedy.
The shooting, which prompted a campus-wide lockdown and large police response according to a local news source, occurred on Thursday afternoon inside the New School of Public Health Research Building. Columbia police held a brief press conference and confirmed two people were dead. The victim is believed to be a professor in the school's Department of Exercise Science, while the identity of the shooter remains unclear.
"We live in a broken world, with broken people, who need a Savior. God is and always will be in control. #PrayforUSC," Thomas Fisher wrote on Twitter after the news broke.
Added Eva Cheros, "It's a shame that we live in such a broken world and have to live our daily lives in fear. We need Jesus now more than ever #PrayForUSC."
Others expressed shock at the tragic event, which remains under investigation although officials say there is no longer an existing threat.
Meanwhile, a Facebook user named Niki Winding expressed gratitude that more people had not been injured in the shooting.
"Please everyone pray for USC as the events develop and pray for all the students and staff that are still inside. I haven't cried happy tears in a while but I'm so glad one of my best friends was running late to her lab. Thank God for that‚ now let's pray the shooter is caught soon so this can end.#prayforUSC," she wrote.
According to the University of South Carolina's Twitter account, classes in the public health school were canceled for the day. However, the the university otherwise operated under normal conditions, infuriating some.
According to State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry, the shooting was an "isolated incident," and said there was never an active shooter-threat on campus.