The young Kiwi caught up in today's college shooting has been praised for warning others about what was happening.
Jaylen Gerrand, was at the college when the lone gunmen opened fire, killing 10 and injuring seven.
The former Westlake Boys High School student had only been in the US for two weeks when his scholarship dream turned into a nightmare.
Mr Gerrand, who was at Umpqua Community College on a basketball scholarship, told Radio New Zealand he was waiting outside a class and described a "rush of things" before people started running.
"I was walking past going to my classes and then just heard gunshots and saw people falling pretty much," he said.
He has been praised for getting a message out, warning others about what was happening.
His basketball coach in Oregon, Daniel Leeworthy, said the young man was the first of the team to text him when the shootings began, to warn others to get off campus.
He said his actions were heroic.
While he's uninjured, his former coach, Jeff Green said Gerrand was pretty shaken up.
"He was running alongside a guy and the guy was shot dead - the guy running next him," Green said.
"He ran past three others that were shot dead, so it was horrifying, horrific.
"So he saw four people dead. He's totally distressed, totally distressed. He just wants to come home right now. It's a huge, huge tragedy."
Going to the United States for Gerrand has been a hard-worked for dream.
In April this year he'd established a Givealittle page describing his efforts to get to there.
On it Gerrand said he'd dreamed of playing basketball in the United States since he watched his first NCAA basketball tournament with his dad.
"I love anything and everything basketball," he said. "I grew up watching my parents play competitively ever since I can remember. This sparked my passion for the sport which I started playing at 8 years old at Orewa Primary, all the way through to my last days at Westlake Boys High School."
However, he said family and financial situations had challenged this dream.
I have had great success and disappointment," he said. "I have wanted to give up numerous times when I thought it would never happen."
His father left three and a half years ago, leaving him behind with his mother and two younger siblings.
At just 15 he worked hard supporting his mother and then one-year-old twin brothers while still going to school and playing basketball, both locally and nationally.
"That first year was incredibly hard for our family and since then many sacrifices have been made and I have had to decline opportunities due to our financial situation."
Former Breaker and New Zealand basketball representative Dillon Boucher said he had played alongside Gerrand for the Supercity Rangers and coached against him. He described him as an "all-round really good kid" and "fantastic" player.
"He had a vision to want to go and play college basketball [in the US] and ... to have something like this happen - this tragedy - is probably a dent in his confidence.
"I don't know too much of the detail of what he actually experienced but I know it's got to be pretty scary when you're at a school that's had a shooting."
Jeff Green's son, Tamamoko, and another Kiwi, Hyrum Harris, were set to join Gerrand in the US on Tuesday after the New Zealand secondary school national basketball championships.
But he had spoken to the Umpqua basketball coach after the shooting and postponed their travel.
"Right now it's all up in the air. But the boys won't be going up on Tuesday."
Gerrand, who plays point guard, had been in the New Zealand Breakers academy team for a couple of years.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said staff in the US were in contact with Gerrand and helping in any way they could.
He was "doing fine and is back [at his US] home with friends".
Staff were also supporting family in New Zealand, who have spoken to Gerrand.
Prime Minister John Key, currently in New York, said he had not been advised on the New Zealander involved but was confident the ministry would ensure he had appropriate support.
Mr Key said US President Barack Obama had previously raised the need for gun controls but the Congress and Senate seemed unwilling to move. "The tragedy for the United States in recent times is that this isn't the first and sadly it doesn't look like it's going to be the last. The United States has hundreds and hundreds of millions of guns in circulation. From Virginia Tech to the most recent in Oregon we've just seen far too many innocent people killed as a result of that."