A day after a teenage gunman opened fire on a Parkland, Florida, high school with an assault-style rifle, killing at least 17 and injuring 15, survivors were still trying to process the horrors they lived through.
Samantha Grady, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was working on an assignment for her Holocaust class when she heard two shots, she told NBC’s “Today” on Thursday. Her best friend pushed her and they huddled behind a bookshelf. When the killer’s bullets shattered the glass of the closed classroom door, her friend suggested they use books to shield themselves.
“I held it up and I believe maybe the book kind of deterred some of the bullets so it didn’t hit me so badly,” Grady said. She suffered a gunshot wound, but returned home Thursday.
Her best friend was killed.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t make it,” Grady muttered, beginning to cry.
“I freely talked about it, cause I don’t want nightmares,” she said of her conversations with her family.
“I thought it was all a drill until I saw my teacher dead on the floor,” Kelsey Friend told CNN’s “New Day” about her geography teacher, who she didn’t name.
Once the shooting began, the teacher unlocked his classroom door to let students in. The students crowded around his desk for shelter, as they had been instructed to do in Code Red situations.
“It felt like five years, I was just so scared,” Friend said of the time she spent hiding from the gunman. “I heard a man crying for his mother [while] dying.”
The teacher returned to the classroom door to lock it and was shot in the doorway, Friend said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” breaking down in tears.
“I’ve become so thankful that he was there to help everybody,” she added.
David Hogg, who said his little sister’s two best friends were killed, urged lawmakers to “look in the mirror” and take action on gun control.
“Without action, ideas stay ideas and children die,” Hogg told CNN. “That is something that we should not let happen in this country, especially when we’re going to school.”