Massachusetts native talks about lockdown experience at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine

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Anntonia Taylor, who is from Lynnfield, Massachusetts, was at dance rehearsal when her school, Bates College, went into lockdown Wednesday night.

Bates, located in Lewiston, Maine, shut down as mass shootings took place in town, killing 18 people. Lewiston remains under a shelter-in-place order on Thursday as the suspect remains at large.

Taylor spoke to WBUR's Radio Boston host Tiziana Dearing about what she experienced.

Interview has been edited lightly for clarity

Interview highlights

On her experience sheltering on Wednesday night:

"We were trying to look around the [dance] studio and around the gym for food, there were some snacks, but there wasn't really much to do. We were nervous at first because no one had a phone charger, and so a lot of our phones were dying. And so, being in the small studio, we were settling with the idea that we were gonna have to sleep over, but we had to leave the dance studio specifically at some point to get phone chargers. And luckily, we found some of that and some snacks, but it was very isolating...

"I think some of us got, some people were able to sleep. I personally knew my parents wanted to hear from me as much as possible. And I wanted to make sure that there was at least somebody that was awake, especially since I felt partially responsible as the person whose rehearsal was there, I called all my dancers there. I ended up kind of nodding off a few times, but in the 13 hours I was there, I maybe got like, an hour of sleep, max by accident. It was all very nerve wracking."

On her feelings in the immediate aftermath:

"I've been to that bowling alley with my friends and I've walked past that bar and just these places that are so real and so connected to Bates and us and just, it, it's shocking, and upsetting. I'm just trying to understand it all."

On where she is now:

"I'm back in my dorm room. Campus safety and everyone associated there did a great job of making sure everybody got out of academic buildings and back into a more safe place than like a public place. But I was in a dance studio for 13 hours...

"It was a bit of a process waiting to hear back from when things would be, when we'd be able to even leave the building, because we'd been there all night at that point, and we're wondering if we're going to have to stay there for the next day. Thankfully, that didn't have to happen. We took a [campus shuttle back to the dorms]. The city is still on lockdown. Everything is eerily quiet. It's just helicopters going over the campus."

On how she's thinking about the Lewiston community:

"I chose Bates as a school because of the community. Like four plus years ago, when I was trying to pick a school, I noticed the community stood out to me at Bates and not just on campus, but into the town of Lewiston...

"The people here are all about community and there's such a connection. And seeing this happen to this community is just so heartbreaking because everyone's going to know somebody and everyone is going to be affected. And it feels like this was actively trying to harm and go after the community. I don't want it to break the community."

This segment aired on October 26, 2023.

Headshot of Tiziana Dearing

Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.


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Rob Lane Producer
Rob Lane is a producer for Radio Boston.



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