PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Several students and teachers inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during what is called the deadliest mass shooting in Broward County Schools history, shared eyewitness accounts of the horrific scene as they were evacuated.
Alex, a student, said she was in her classroom as the gunman, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, walked past. She said that her teacher did not make it out.
“We heard the fire alarm for the second time that day, which was weird,” she said. “We left the classroom, which [my teacher] locked the door, so we could leave, and when people were halfway down the stairwell, it just stopped. The alarm stopped, and we heard gunshots coming from the first floor, the second floor. People were running upstairs. We all got upstairs and into the classroom, and when he tried to unlock the door, me and a couple other people ran in, and as he was closing the door, he was actually shot and killed right there.”
Alex said she and other students watched as the gunman walked past after killing their teacher.
“The door was left open the whole time, so as [the gunman] walked by, the door was open,” Alex said. “He could have walked in at any time. We just had to be as quiet as possible.”
Cristina Vega said she was in shock when she realized her teacher was shot.
“I heard him get shot. I was like, ‘Oh, no. They’re out for cold blood,'” Vega said. “When the policemen busted down the door, we all started going outside with our hands up, and they yelled at us. They’re like, ‘Don’t look to the side. Look straight ahead.’ I did a little glance. I saw they pushed a kid up here and put a mat over him, and then I saw the teacher over there. I didn’t know it was my teacher until people started telling me about it.”
For Vega, returning to the school will be extremely difficult. “I don’t want to come back to this school,” she said. “I can’t go up the stairs because up the stairs there was just trails of blood. Our teacher, right there in the corner. You just see the bullet and the blood on the wall.”
Another student didn’t know how to process the bad news. “I heard one of my friends died. It hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “You don’t feel it until you go back into school and realize, ‘Oh, that person’s not there.'”
As students reunited with parents, emotions took over.
Another student said that he knew something was off when the second fire alarm went off. “We were just in class doing notes and talking about a project, and the fire alarm goes for the second time in the same day,” he said, “which is weird, so we all just go out to the field like we’re supposed to, and then I heard gunshots. You could tell it was definitely gunshots.”
The day after the tragedy occurred, classes were cancelled at the high school. However, at nearby Westglades Middle School, classes resumed as normal. Westglades Middle was also on lockdown during the time of the shooting, Wednesday.
Although classes continue at the middle school, flags are being flown at half staff.
All Broward Schools have been placed on Code Yellow out of an abundance of caution. However, officials said there is no threat to students.
During a Code Yellow, visitors are not allowed on the school campus.
A prayer vigil will be held Thursday at noon at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs.
There will be grief counselors for students and families at Pines Trials Park Recreation Center, Coral Springs Gymnasium and Coral Springs Center for Performing Arts beginning at 8 a.m., Thursday.
Grief counselors will also be available for staff at Parkland Library on Thursday starting at 8 a.m.
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