A second grader in the classroom next door was overcome with fear when a gunman began killing his classmates at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.
“We were scared and the teacher started telling us we can pray,” 8-year-old Timothy Silva told CBS News.
He said his teacher reacted quickly, closing the classroom door and telling students to hide.
“She started yelling and I didn’t think it was a drill because they would have announced it. The teacher just went out there and started yanking on our door to go hide,” he said.
Silva’s mother, Amberlin Diaz, waited 40 agonizing minutes to know her son was safe.
“I was thinking that the shooter was shooting everywhere, that it was going to go through one of the walls and shoot him. I was so scared,” she told CBS News.
“I’m glad I wasn’t shot,” Silva said.
For other families, those worst fears became real.
Among the victims was Xavier Lopez, whose mother came to see him during the school’s awards ceremony hours before the rampage. Lopez’s family described him as full of life. On social media they posted, “Fly high handsome angel.”
Eliahna Garcia was a proud member of the Tree City basketball team. Her aunt described her as a sweet girl. “She was very happy and very outgoing. Loved to dance and sing and play sports,” Siria Arizmendi said.
Jayce Luevanos and Jailah Silguero were cousins — their grandfather had died just two weeks ago.
19 children and two teachers were killed in the massacre and 17 others were injured.
As the people of Uvalde come to terms with what happened, the largely Latino community is turning to each other and to prayer for comfort, hoping to find an answer to what may never be known.
“There are no words for this kind of situation. We’re trying to speak with our action, with our presence, with our support, with our prayer,” Matthew de Leon, a pastor in Ulveda, told CBS News. “We’re ready to immediately assist them with grief counseling, with financial assistance, with housing that they need or any other assistance.”