Drew Pescaro oral history interview 1, 2020 November 19
WARNING: This interview contains a first hand account of a mass shooting beginning at 27:42 and ending at 01:01:29. Drew Pescaro, one of six victims of the April 30 mass shooting at UNC Charlotte, describes his life before the shooting and his experiences on the day of the shooting. Mr. Pescaro, a senior student in Organizational Communications at UNC Charlotte at the time of the interview, outlines his early life and his passion for sports, which motivated him to study at UNC Charlotte where he could be close to major sports industries and work opportunities. He describes his engagement in various school clubs, and his significant involvement as a founding member of a new fraternity at UNC Charlotte, Alpha Tau Omega. Mr. Pescaro also discusses how he came to identify his feelings of anxiety in his sophomore year, his decision to get a dog as a support animal, and how subsequently his dog, Lilly, helped him to establish routines and to combat his anxiety. He summarizes how the Spring semester of 2019 had been very positive for him and his anticipation for the end of the school year. During the second half of the interview Mr. Pescaro details events that unfolded in Kennedy 236, where his last class of the year took place in the late afternoon of April 30. Shortly after the class got underway with final presentations Mr. Pescaro observed the shooter enter the room and retrieve his handgun. He describes his own state of shock before realizing that he and others around him who were closest to the shooter had been shot, the chaos that ensued in the room as terrified students fled, the dream-like reality of the horrific event as he laid in pain on the floor, and his thought processes as he tried to understand what was happening when the shooter put down his gun and proceeded to also lay on the floor. Since Mr. Pescaro's serious injuries prevented him from leaving the room without significant help, he urged the other students who remained in the room to leave without him. He was then alone in the room with victims Reed Parlier and Riley Howell and the shooter, and he focused on staying conscious until first responders arrived. He relays his memories of what the shooter said during this time, the arrival of the first police officer and ROTC student to the scene who helped to keep him awake, and then other police who were able to give attention to his wounds and lift him into a police car which took him to the University City Atrium Hospital. Mr. Pescaro concludes the interview describing how he was transferred to Atrium's main hospital and sent immediately into an approximately six-hour surgery.