Sheila Stearns is a former interim president at the University of Montana and her Missoula Historian husband Hal are both safe.

They're currently traveling overseas and new Zealand was just one of their stops.

KULR-8 spoke with both Mr. and Mrs. Stearns Friday morning, which was actually Saturday morning in New Zealand, as they ran me through the lock down that their hotel was in during this scary time.

"This is a shooting at a mosque, two mosques, maybe. Maybe also a hospital and its pretty major. So then we just started watching the news and in fact, within an hour we were getting messages from the state," said Shelia.

"This is really a moment that will impact this country for a long long time and you know we just happened to be apart of it," said Hal.

"So we stayed here (at the hotel) and after a few hours, and after our managers children got released from their lock down and our hotel went off lock down. I mean there were a couple hours there where a few of us in the lobby were looking at the vending machine as a possible source for our dinner. We would watch our manager go out and intercept anyone who was coming into the hotel until he was pretty reassured that all the suspects or multiple suspects, whatever it was, were not wandering around because we're that close. A young single guy walking by himself came up to the hotel and our hotel manager went right out and intercepted him several steps in front of the front door and you could see he was expecting to see a confirmation that he had a hotel reservation before he would let him come in," said Sheila.

It was really an astounding moment in time," said Hal.

After our conversation, Sheila expressed her condolences to the now hundreds of families impacted by this shooting.

KULR-8 Reporter / Weekend Anchor

Recommended for you