NEWTOWN, Conn. (ABC) - It was a tragic and harrowing seen in Newtown, Connecticut, Friday morning, where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school.
The numbers are staggering: at least 27 people were shot dead, many of them young children.
State police got the first 911 call at 9:40 a.m., and immediately sent emergency units to the school and locked down all the schools in the area. Many students were trapped in classrooms.
Nine-year old Vanessa Bajraliu heard gunshots during her art class.
"The police came and we heard screaming on loud speakers," Bajraliu said.
A fourth grader was in a gym class when police came looking for a gunman.
"Police came in, 'Is he in here?', and ran out," fourth-grader Brendon Murrey said. "Then our teacher, somebody yelled get to the safe place."
Murrey's father is relieved that his son is okay, and shocked that so many are dead.
"It was terrifying," Sean Murrey said. "I'm still terrified. I'm still in shock."
Many distressed children were led out of the school with their hands up. Authorities told ABC News that the gunman is from New Jersey.
The gunman's own mother was among the dead found in the school, and another
body has been found in gunman's home.
Friday's shooting is the worst shooting in a U.S. elementary school in recent
memory. President Obama addressed the nation late in the afternoon.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times," Obama said. "We're
going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more
tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
Local Reaction to Friday's Shooting
CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) - Reaction here at home has been swift. After word of the shooting emerged, the Corpus Christi Independent School District sent out more than 40,000 automated calls to parents.
CCISD Superintendent Scott Elliff assured parents that their children are safe.
Elliff was in his office as the news about Friday's tragedy broke throughout the day. He quickly called all of the CCISD campuses to alert them to what was happening in Connecticut.
The district security measures were immediately evaluated; cautionary measures, at a time when they need to be reviewed, if for nothing more than assuring parents, children and educators that our schools are safe.
"We will be meeting to talk again, over the next few days, about the procedures that we have in place," Elliff said. "Seeing if there's anything that we need to tweak or remind people of. But as I said, we do have these established procedures for checking in. We have common practices around locking classroom doors that open to the outside. We have our lockdown procedures when incidents occur around the neighborhood. So we'll continue to remind our school leaders of those procedures and direct them to follow them closely."