“What does a parent think about coming to a school where there’s a shooting” It’s the most terrifying moment of a parent’s life … you have no idea,” said Wilford.
Brendan Murray, a 9-year-old 4th grader, said he was in the gym with his class when they heard "lots of banging." He said the teachers put the students in a nearby closet where they stayed for about 15 minutes before police officers told them to leave the building.
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The boy said the students ran down a hallway where there were police at every door. He said "lots of people were crying."
Eight-year-old Alexis Wasik, a third-grader at the school, said police were checking everybody inside the school before they were escorted to the firehouse.
"We had to walk with a partner," she said.
One child leaving the school said that there was shattered glass everywhere. A police officer ran into the classroom and told them to run outside and keep going until the reach the firehouse.
Audra Barth, who was walking away from the school with her first-grade son and third-grade daughter, says a teacher took first-graders into the restroom after bullets came through the window.
Students at nearby Newtown High School on Berkshire Road were stunned Friday when they learned of the shootings.
Senior Alex Buttery said when she learned the shootings had taken place on Dickinson Drive – where the school is located – “I immediately thought of Sandy Hook,” she said. “It’s devastating.”
Buttery, walking out of the school Friday afternoon with her friend Clare Donnelly, said she’d cried a lot today.
Donnelly said “it’s hard to wrap your head around” the shooting. “It’s difficult to watch [young children] go through this.”
Junior Renee Henriquez said she was “shocked, speechless” by the shootings.
Buttery said she had been texting back and forth with her mother all day. “I went there,” she said of Sandy Hook School. “I know the teachers. I’m just wondering who it is.” Her mother, she said, was very emotional. They “know a lot of neighbors who go to Sandy Hook.”
NHS student Stefanie Carr said she was having a hard time processing what had happened. “I just couldn’t process how I felt. I’m still trying to get over it.”
All of the students had the same question: “Why someone would do that to the children.”
Newtown United Methodist Church opened the doors around noon after ministers there heard of the tragedy. Brad Tefft, a bereavement minister at the church, drove in and opened the doors.
"I better get down there. It's in our neighborhood," Tefft remembered thinking.
He created a sign that said "prayer vigil," which he placed out by the street, and also put a sign on the door saying sanctuary open.
"We are taught to listen and offer that cold cup of water when necessary," Tefft said.