Screams 'Over The Intercom,' Then The School Went Into Lockdown - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Screams 'Over The Intercom,' Then The School Went Into Lockdown

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NBCNEWS.COM - The first that some pupils heard of the mass shootings Friday at their Connecticut elementary school was when screams started coming over the intercom system, according to accounts from the scene.

Twenty children, all ages 5 to 10, and six adults were killed when a masked gunman opened fire inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., authorities said. The gunman was later found dead, a federal law enforcement official told NBC News.

"You can never be prepared for this kind of incident," an emotional Gov. Dan Malloy said, his voice shaking as he recounted the assault on "a number of our citizens, beautiful children, as well as the adults whose responsibility is to educate those children."

The brother of a little girl who made it out of the school safely told NBC 30 of Connecticut that his sister told him that her class knew something was wrong "when she heard screams — screams were coming over the intercom and the school went on lockdown."

As the children were being led out of the school, state troopers and FBI agents told them to "hold hands and close their eyes until they outside," said the unidentified young man, "so obviously what was in there must have been very gruesome."

"It truly is disgusting. It's sickening," he said. "Unfortunately, it's a growing trend in the United States."

Another pupil said everyone "went into a total panic" when they started hearing the gunshots.

"I was going back to my classroom," the boy said. "Then I heard something like a person was kicking on a door. Then I turned around and I saw smoke. ... Then a teacher pulled me into her room."

Asked what his reaction was amid the chaos, the boy said simply, "Whoa."

The father of a Sandy Hook pupil said he had "no words that I could come up with that could come close to describing the sheer terror of hearing that your son is in a place, or your child is in a place, where there's been violence."

"You don't know the details of that violence. You don't know the condition of your child, and you can't do anything immediately to help them or protect them," he said.

"That is a powerless and terrifying experience."

A staging area for parents to reunite with their children was set up at the neighboring firehouse.

"I was in the gym, and I heard, like, seven loud booms, and the gym teachers told us to go in a corner, and we all huddled, and I kept hearing these booming noises," a young girl said.

"We all started — well, we didn't scream — we all started crying, so all the gym teachers told us to go into the office where no one could find us," the girl said.

"So then a police officer came in and told us to run outside, so we did, and we came in the firehouse and waited for our parents."

"The children who witnessed this are terribly traumatized," said Msgr. Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, who went to the firehouse to offer support and comfort.

"They're crying, they're trying to hold on to their parents, they want to go home, but they don't want to leave their friends," Weiss told MSNBC.

"Right now, I'm in a room full of parents who are waiting to hear what happened to their kids," he said. "The anxiety in this room is just overwhelming."

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