PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – It was chaos and confusion in moments after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“It was a bunch of pops randomly and then all of sudden everyone started freaking out and the alarms rang,” said one student.
The sound of gunfire sent students running in a panic from the school in Parkland shortly before dismissal.
“We knew something was happening,” cried student Audrey Diaz. “All of our parents were coming and they were calling us and they were worried about us.”
“I saw the rifles, I saw the SWAT team and then I saw the police and they were like, ‘Get in your car and close the windows’, and then they just evacuated. It’s horrible,” said parent Iris Diaz.
The accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, pulled the fire alarm right before dismissal.
Earlier in the day, there was a real fire drill and many students and teachers thought it was a false alarm when they heard the siren again.
“As soon as the fire drill got pulled, the fire alarm got pulled and kids were evacuating, I heard five pops,” recalled one student.
“One of my friends died,” said Kaleela Rosenthal. “It hasn’t hit me yet. You just don’t feel it yet until you actually back into school and you realize that person isn’t there.”
Parents rushed to campus after hearing there was an active shooter
“We are in a real code red, dad. Get me asap”, one father read his son’s text message outloud. “It’s not a drill. I hear gunshots.”
“It’s a day you pray, every day, that we will never have to see,” said Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
An unspeakable tragedy with no answer as to why
“We’re all trying to figure out, why, why here, why now, why again?” asked another parent.
17 people died in the attack. Twelve of those have been identified. 14 others were injured.
The high school is closed Thursday and Friday.