RICHMOND, Ind. – It was a chaotic morning outside of Richmond High School on Thursday. Parents of Dennis Intermediate School students arrived there to reunite with their children, just hours after a teenager exchanged fire with police before taking his own life.
"I was never scared to send my kid to school," parent Catina Brooks said. "Now, I'm scared to send my kid to school.”
Brooks has a son who's a student at the high school. While classes resumed, Brooks no longer felt comfortable knowing what happened just down the street.
“Until they can get security in there to protect my child, my child is not coming to what could be a bloodbath," Brooks said.
As parents reconnected with their students, many hugs and tears were exchanged. While 7th grader Khamara Moore says she's seen school shootings on TV and in movies, experiencing it was entirely different.
"You could literally hear the sounds and the fear in the principals voice when she said 'lockdown, lockdown,'” Moore said. “Then everyone started like crying and getting scared.... The teacher just told us to stay quiet and if anything happened just don't yell. No matter if they shoot out the door, don't yell, don't scream. You can cry, but silently cry.”
"It started off normal, we were doing our morning work," said 5th grader Dominick Mckinley of the experience. "Then they told us to go classroom secure then they went straight to lockdown, then we heard gunshots and dogs barking.”
After the school was secured, Moore uses her cell phone inside the classroom to call her grandmother, who is also a member of the school board.
“I am extremely proud of the staff and the leadership, I'm extremely proud of our school," said grandmother Deborah Moore. "They did an amazing job executing this, to make sure that not one kid was in danger, not one staff member was in danger, everybody did what they were supposed to do."
Parents like Nick Mckinley agreed.
"I'm very happy with the way first responders got to the scene quickly, got everything under control, parents under control, kids under control, I think they did an excellent job,” Mckinley said.
He had just dropped his kids off at school when he got the alert.
"I actually had just dropped them off at school and got home," Mckinley said. "(Not long after I) stepped in the house, my phone was ringing that there was a shooter at the school.”
Mckinley dropped everything and raced to the school, where officers told him his kids were okay. However, he's still in shock.
"That's the hardest part, to believe it," Mckinley said. "You never think Richmond would have that, and Dennis is a great school. So you'd never think anything like that would happen.”