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South Florida college students describe scene amid Boston chaos

Ricardo De Armas studied in his dorm room when he received an emergency call from MIT’s alert system around 10 p.m. Thursday night.

The 20-year-old sophomore chemical engineering major from Kendall heard reports of a gunman on campus near MIT’s Stata Center. What culminated was a wild chase that left one MIT police officer, Sean A. Collier, dead, Boston Marathon suspect Tamerian Tsarnaev gunned down by police and a citywide man hunt for his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, also a suspect.

“A lot of my friends from Miami starting texting and calling me to see if I was OK,” he said.

For Aaron Epstein, it was much of the same.

The 21-year-old computer science major from North Miami Beach was playing video games in his dorm’s lounge when he found out from a friend about the gunman.

Despite his distance from the Stata Center, the noise was unbearable.

“I could hear sirens all night, which is a little scary,” Epstein said.

De Armas, who has taken classes previously at the Stata Center, was also shocked. The building is about a 10-minute walk from his dorm.

“Everyday I go eat lunch there, you would never think that would happen there,” De Armas said.

On campus today, he said the mood is “dead.”

“Everyone is in doors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Boston University student Sanah Faroke, 21, said she feels safer in the city. In addition to MIT, classes at BU are also canceled Friday.

Faroke, from Kendall, does not see much activity from her dorm.

“I’m looking through my window, there is about two to three cars from where I am standing,” she said.