It started as a normal morning today at Dennis Intermediate School, but ended with the suicide of 14-year-old Brandon Clegg, who shot his way into the school.
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“It was calm until they said it was a lockdown. Everybody thought it was a drill until they said it again really fast,” said fifth-grader Jayla Henderson.
Then, moments later, Jayla said she and her fifth-grade classmates knew it was real.
“It sounded like a pistol,” she said of at least three gunshots she heard as her teacher ordered students under their desks.
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“She was trying to keep us quiet because everyone was panicking,” Jayla said.
It’s not easy for a mother to hear her fifth-grade daughter talking about gunfire at school.
“I don’t like it, shouldn’t be that way. I don’t know how things get to this. It’s sad,” said Jayla’s mother, Danielle Hurd.
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She had been waiting anxiously for hours to finally see her daughter.
“To have her in my arms is unexplainable. There are no words,” she said.
It was quite a moment after parents got the call — there was a shooter at school.
“She said there was a shooting at school you need to get to your son. What is that call like? I just woke up, I panicked. I about had a whole heart attack and a half, that’s my son," said Dennis Intermediate parent Tina Hunt.
Hunt’s son was close to the gunfire, too.
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“He heard like four shots and he ran underneath the table. He said he was scared. I said, ‘I don’t blame you I‘d be scared, too,’” she told him.
Many parents and grandparents, including Hunt, couldn’t yet see their loved ones, but knew they were safe.
“A big relief. I can breathe now,” said grandparent Linda Wallace. “It’s got me real emotional. And I was just praying my grandkids were OK.”
This community is still trying to process the violence here. But mostly there is a tremendous wave of relief after authorities thwarted a mass shooting, thanks to a well-timed tip.
“You definitely count your blessings this time of year, and especially moments like today,” Hurd said.
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