STUART, Fla. — Hours after a shooting rampage at a Florida high school Wednesday afternoon, parents were being reunited with their children and hearing about the horror that happened inside the school.
Anna Cecilia Girao was in a class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland with about 15 other students when the shooting started.
"He (her teacher) was going to close the door, and he got shot," she said.
"My teacher was dead; I saw him. It was horrible. I was so scared; I didn't know what to do," Girao said.
"Everyone was so scared and crying but like almost everyone stayed quiet."
Her father, Luis Eduardo Girao, thanked God his daughter was OK, and pleaded "No more guns, please, no more guns."
The school was placed on lockdown after the attack, which Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said left 17 people dead. Students were being bused to a Marriott hotel in Coral Springs to meet up with their parents.
Monique Golberg was holding her 15-year-old daughter, Leah, after they were reunited.
"I just want to take her home and love on her," Golberg said.
Mark Klein was waiting to pick up his son Manny, a ninth-grader who was able to call him during the lockdown at the school to say he was OK.
Klein said his son whispered during the call, telling him, “We have to be quiet; I can’t really be talking to you."
George LePorte, a chemistry teacher at the school, said he heard gunshots and was on lockdown for an hour before SWAT officers reached him.
“As soon as I realized what was happening, I got the students, went into the back of the room and did what we were supposed to do.”
The gunman was identified by the sheriff’s office as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Cruz, whose first name also appears as Nicolas in some official records, was arrested a short distance away from the school nearly two hours after the shooting started.
Israel said Cruz was armed with “countless” magazines and a military-style rifle.
Cruz is a former student who teachers and former classmates said had an angry disposition that led to him being expelled.
“Our hearts are with the students, families, staff and the entire Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community as we deal with this tragedy," the Broward County School District said in a tweet Wednesday night.
"We’ll provide continuous support for all of the students and families impacted by this heartbreaking situation."