Children evacuated from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut following a shooting spree by a lone gunman, have begun to speak about their experiences.
Among the dead are 20 children and up to six adults. Around 600 children attend the school, ranging from 5 to 10 years old.
The killer, who was also found dead inside a school building, reportedly used close to 100 rounds. Two guns were recovered.
He apparently entered the school, where he killed his mother who was teaching in one of the classrooms, before turning his gun on the children.
One student in the school grounds said: “When we went to the morning meeting we heard shots and everybody went on the ground and Mr. Martin closed the door and we went to the corner.”
Another young student spoke about first hearing the rounds being fired: “I was in the gym and I heard seven loud booms and the gym teachers told us to go in the corner so we all huddled and I kept hearing all these booming noises.”
Parents were understandably panicked when they first found out. “We just ran like every other parent and found out we couldn’t get to the school. But fortunately the Sandy Hook Fire Department is nearby. They shuttled everyone in, including the kids, to the side door of the fire house,” said one man.
President Obama has spoken at the White House about the tragedy and said that he would do everything in his power to help.
The incident is likely to ignite the furious debate about gun laws in the USA.