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Backpack Full of Books Saves Student During FSU Shooting

Short & Sweet

Jason Derfuss, a 21-year-old humanities student at Florida State University, was lucky to survive yesterday's shooting. He was spared by the grace of, all things, a backpack full of books. He didn't even realize that he had been shot at until he got home and found the bullet in his backpack.

The Lowdown

Derfuss had just left Strozier library with a backpack full of books when he heard the shooting and saw the gunman run towards another student about 50 yards away. Terrified, Derfuss ran to his car and called his dad, who told him to call 911.

Derfuss said he only realized hours later, while emptying his backpack, that the gunman had tried to shoot him. When he opened the backpack, he found all of the books that he had checked out from the library had been shredded, and there, embedded in his copy of "The Oxford Context of Wyclif's Thought" was the slug that was meant for him.

Derfuss was a bit taken aback by the whole incident, as evidenced by his Facebook status update that night: "Earlier tonight there was a shooting at FSU, right as I was leaving Strozier. I didn't know this at the time, but the shooter targeted me first. The shot I heard behind me I did not feel, nor did it hit me at all. He was about 5 feet from me, but he hit my books. Books one minute earlier I had checked out of the library, books that should not have stopped the bullet. But they did. I learned this about 3 hours after it happened; I never thought to check my bag. I assumed I wasn't a target; I assumed I was fine. The truth is I was almost killed tonight, and God intervened. I know conceptually He can do all things, but to physically witness the impossible and to be surrounded by such grace is indescribable. To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen."

The Upshot

Derfuss is lucky to be alive. If it hadn't been for all those books in his backpack, the bullet may have found its way to its intended target and killed him. Luckily, those books were in the right place at the right time to save his life. Talk about something to be thankful for on a day in his life that could have been otherwise catastrophic.

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