Parents and students at Sandy Hook Elementary School described the terror that unfolded at the school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday after a gunman killed at least 27 people, including 20 children.
Authorities have told NBC 4 New York that Adam Lanza, 20, opened fire at the school where his mother worked as a kindergarten teacher, killing her in the attack.
Teachers ushered children into the corners of classrooms, locking doors as multiple shots rang out. Later, the school was evacuated and tearful parents rushed to get their kids.
"Certainly this is the most terrifying moment I can imagine," said one parent whose son was unharmed in the shooting. "My heart and prayers go out to those who are still waiting to recover their children and may not know the status of their kids."
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
Other parents expressed similar shock that a shooting like this could take place in their quiet suburban town.
"It's just hard to believe that it happens here, but I'm sure any place that violence happens it's hard to believe," said Erin Nikitchyuk, whose 8-year old son, Bear, escaped unharmed.
Bear, a third grader at the school, recalled the scene.
"I was going back to my classroom, then I heard something like kicking on a door, then I turned around and I saw smoke and I smelled smoke," Bear said. "Then bullets whizzed by."
Bear said he believed 10 bullets passed by him before he was pulled into a classroom by a teacher.
"When everyone heard the bullets they went into a total panic," Bear said.
Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.
"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.