CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – Huge worry, fear and eventually relief and hugs. That was the story for most of the parents and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a nearby middle school hours after Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting that left 17 people dead and 14 others injured.
Family members waited for hours some distance away from the high school campus in Parkland, waiting for their students to be released after buildings were cleared and the gunman arrested.
At those emotional reunions, there were plenty of hugs, kisses and tears, but for some, the ordeal went well into the night at the Coral Springs Marriott On Heron Cay Boulevard where the investigation was ramping up. The school used 10 buses to transport students and a few teachers to the hotel.
“We just found out a few minutes ago from the FBI she is alive and what’s happening with all the kids. The FBI is holding kids to do interviews, to do statements. That’s why they have not been released,” explained concerned father Sam Gagana.
These students were all witnesses to a horrific crime.
All the students had to sign in once at the hotel and were checked out by parents.
By 9 p.m., most students had been picked up.
Earlier in the day, another parent told CBS4’s Hank Tester about trying to get back to his son and daughter.
Hank asked Max Barretta, “You can’t get to her right now?” He replied, “No. I’m trying to get to her right now. I’m also here for my son. Fortunately he got out okay. He jumped a fence. He is safe.”
Slowly, some of the kids came out, a bit shocked. Nobody can blame them.
“No thank you. I’m trying to go home.”
The gunman, who was expelled, was identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was armed with “countless” magazines and an AR-15 rifle.