Students attending Etowah High School shared their thoughts Thursday on the two students who were allegedly planning to carry out an attack on campus.
Some students say they were not very surprised that Victoria McCurley, known to her friends as Gabi, and Alfred Dupree would attempt to do something like this.
"He seemed a little weird, because, I remember in my freshman year, he wasn’t always the one to stand out but, to me, I can kind of suspect it a little bit but, it’s really surprising though, that they were planning this, just to do this," one student said. "I haven’t heard anything from any of my friends. And, just to see it on the news the other night, I was just like wow that actually could have happened.”
Another student, Jovany Hernandez, said McCurley was very quiet and sweet.
“I didn’t think she would ever do something like that.”
A close friend of Gabi, Tristan Shirley, 16, says he knew that “she had a troubling past” and that her mother had passed away a few years ago.
“It really messed her up. I knew that she was really depressed and was made fun of a lot but I didn’t know that it was this bad, that it would cause her to do something like this," Shirley said. "It kind of makes me upset that I didn’t see the signs and that I stopped talking to her as much because I mean, we don’t really see each other. It hurts my feelings that she didn’t call me so I could try to talk her out of it, try to smack some sense into her something because, I mean, she just ruined her life.”
Shirley recalled that McCurley was in ROTC and it was very important to her. “I believe she wanted to actually go into the military, that’s why she did ROTC.”
According to Shirley, McCurley was made fun of quite often for her unique sense of style, calling her weird, fat and making fun of her love for anime.
“On the outside, you couldn’t really tell that it affected her but when she got home and she was by herself, you knew it had messed her up," Shirley said.
“It’s terrible that we live, now, in a society where everyone is just OK with making fun of people to the point that this is what happens. And then they still make fun of them when they get caught. When I first found out who it was, the first thing I heard was, ‘Oh my God look how ugly these two are, oh my God look at all this, look how weird they are.’ You don’t think that’s kind of part of the reason why this stuff happens because, you know, they may have something wrong with them.”
Skylor Webb, 16, said he was a friend of Dupree’s, saying he was a “sweet guy”.
“I sat with him at lunch and everything and, like all last year I sat with him at lunch and he never, like he would make jokes about school shootings and stuff but, he would make funny jokes about them. Like everybody at the table that we were sitting with at the time, laughed. So, we never really took that as a sign. I knew Gabi...she was kind of to herself. I’ve seen her around and I’ve seen her talk to Alfred and everything and it was, she seemed kind of like an off person to me. I never really talked, like had full on conversations with her because she just made me uncomfortable, I guess.”
Webb believes that someone should have said something after seeing McCurley's Instagram account, which she said displayed images of kids from the Columbine shooting as well as a post saying "Outrun My Gun".
"There's something that should have been said if somebody saw the Instagram because that's a sign," Shirley said.
According to Shirley, many students, including staff, were becoming paranoid and fearful that a possible attack would take place.
“We were watching our softball team leave and something popped from one of the buses and some students started to run, I saw people hit the ground, I saw a lot of teachers get really scared.”
“It was terrible because I was scared, mainly because everyone was putting more thoughts in my head like, there’s going to be more people, there’s going to be all this and that, so I was like, I’m not going to go to any of the school functions for a while; it terrified me.”
“I felt, kind of betrayed, I guess,” Webb said, “because Alfred was my friend, you know. I never thought he would do anything like that, or try to.”