Gardner said she realized something was wrong early Wednesday when students began to run past her.
“People looked terrified,” said Gardner, a ninth-grader. “The football coach was like, ‘Get out, get out! Someone’s been shot.”’
She and other students sprinted down the hallway, passing blood on the wall and floor as she ran to a nearby playground.
Another ninth-grader, Jake Green, said he heard the single shot ring out after he and dozens of other students gathered to pray before school.
“We heard this loud boom and everyone just got quiet,” Green said. “No one said a word.”
A teacher told the students to get out of the building, Green said.
“Everyone was really scared. We didn’t know if the kid shot himself or if there was a shooter outside the school who shot in,” Green said. “Everyone didn’t know what was going on, so they were screaming and running as fast as they could to get to the playground.”
Some students wore superhero costumes Wednesday as part of an effort to raise cancer awareness, but Dickerson said the student who shot himself didn’t appear to be dressed up.
“If he was wearing a costume, it wasn’t evident to me,” Dickerson said.
Green said students who were already in their classrooms were locked in the building for about an hour. Parents were told to pick up their children at a nearby shopping center.
“It was really scary,” Green said. “Everyone’s kind of traumatized and doesn’t know how to act or respond.”