The gunshots got louder. Panic set in. Texas students knew it was 'really happening to us'

Class had recently begun when Daymon Rabon, a senior at Santa Fe High School in Texas, heard a loud bang in the room ...

Posted: May 20, 2018 1:42 PM
Updated: May 20, 2018 1:42 PM

Class had recently begun when Daymon Rabon, a senior at Santa Fe High School in Texas, heard a loud bang in the room next door.

"We thought maybe someone was banging on the shop door or maybe something fell," he said.

Rabon's teacher went to investigate and the curious student followed.

They heard three more bangs and saw the shooter come out of an art room.

"At this point we knew this was ... really happening to us," Rabon said.

The shooter went back into the art room, he said.

Rabon and the teacher retreated into their classroom and started to barricade the door.

Panic mounted as the other students realized what was happening.

The teacher tried to calm them as he worked to block the entrance, Rabon said.

The bangs continued, and they got louder, Rabon said, adding he heard more than a dozen shots.

"You could hear him getting closer," he said. "Everyone was crying, in complete tears, just in utter disbelief."

Then, they heard shots from another gun or guns.

The students were in the classroom for another hour to 90 minutes until police came and got them out, the student said.

According to authorities, 10 people were killed and at least 10 injured in the school shooting, the third in eight days and the 22nd since the beginning of the year. A male suspect, a student, is in jail, accused of murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.

Witnesses gave their accounts to CNN affiliates in the immediate aftermath of the shooting -- when emotions were running high and law enforcement agencies had confirmed few details.

But the scene the shocked students and some of their parents described was all too familiar, coming three months after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Is that a fire drill?

Dakota Shrader and her classmates left the history hallway after the fire alarms went off and headed outside.

"'Cause nobody thought it would be this," she told CNN affiliate KPRC, her voice breaking as tears rolled down her face. "Nobody thought it was a shooting. Everybody just thought it was a, you know, normal procedure."

"And the next thing you know, we just hear ... three gunshots, loud explosions, and all the teachers are telling us to run, run, go, like run," Shrader said.

Shrader and a friend ran for the trees to take shelter, she told KPRC, while sirens rang out in the distance. She began having an asthma attack, but she was able to call her mom. "I just wanted to be safe," she told reporters later, wrapped in her mother's arms.

Like Shrader, other witnesses at the scene of Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School described chaos as gunshots rang out and fire alarms blared, scattering students in all directions.

"I was scared for my life," Shrader said. "Nobody should be able to feel that in school. This is a place where we're supposed to feel safe."

"Nobody should have to go through this, and nobody should feel that pain. It hurts my heart to see this."

At first, it was like any other day

Angelica Martinez, 14, told CNN she was in first period doing her work. It seemed like a typical Friday morning. Then her classmates were evacuated "like it's a fire drill," she said.

"We all went outside like a normal procedure," she said. But while she and her classmates stood outside, kids began running out of the building.

"They said, 'Run, run. There's somebody with a gun,'" Martinez said.

She said she heard about four gunshots.

'I was terrified'

One student's mother, identified only as Shannon, was driving when she got a phone call from her daughter about the shooting.

"She said, 'Mom, there's shots.' And I said, 'What?'"

"She said, 'There's shots in the school,' and she was crying," the mother told KPRC, wiping a tear from her face.

She turned her car around and "hauled it all the way to school," she said, behind a police officer who was headed to the scene. "Thank God I was close."

Shannon, standing outside a gas station near the campus, said she stayed on the phone with her daughter, telling her to listen to her teacher, stay down and keep quiet.

"I was terrified," she said.

A classmate shot in the leg

One witness told CNN affiliate KTRK she was in art class when a gunman walked in and began firing what she believed was a shotgun.

She saw a girl get shot in the leg "and everyone started running, ... like, everyone started screaming and running."

She didn't get a good look at the shooter, the witness told KTRK.

'It felt like hours'

Not long after substitute teacher David Briscoe began his English class, chaos erupted.

"It was simultaneous," he told CNN. He heard gunshots and screaming, quickly followed by a fire alarm. But it was clear, Briscoe said, this was an active shooter situation.

Briscoe ordered his students to get down, he said, knowing he couldn't take them into the hall without knowing where the shooter might be.

"I barricaded the door with desks and tables and shut the lights."

They waited.

Briscoe heard what sounded like a student getting hit by a bullet, he said, "and groaning."

"Honestly, it felt like hours before we got out of the school," he said, "but one of my students said it was 30 to 45 minutes."

'I didn't know what to think'

Another student told KPRC she heard the fire alarm but believed it was just a typical drill. She left her bag and her belongings inside and began to make her way out of the building.

When she first heard gunshots, she assumed a fire had broken out.

"Because the fire drill went off, I thought it was like the fire popping," she said. "And then I heard so many people saying that like it was gunshots and that people were dead, and I didn't know what to think," she said, her voice shaky and her face red.

A male student took her hand, she said, and they ran toward the bushes far from the school.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 81°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 80°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather