When fire alarms blared for the second time on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, many students found it a little odd. They'd already had a fire drill earlier in the day, and were surprised to have another one with just 20 minutes left in their last class period.
Marcus Landen, a sophomore, was among students who walked out of the school, confused.
"I heard a pop, but I didn't think it was, like, a gun or anything," he said. "And then we heard more pops, and we were running as, like, a joke, like 'Oh, someone's shooting up the school.' "
But they realized it wasn't a joke when another student ran up to them.
"He had a hole in his foot. He was like, ‘I just got shot. Everyone run.’ ”
Other students realized there was a shooter through social media.
Still locked in. I checked the local news and there is 20 victims. Long live Majory Stoneman Douglas High. pic.twitter.com/4kQMAlCBWt
— Aidan Minoff (@TheCaptainAidan) February 14, 2018
"There were videos on Snapchat of people walking over dead bodies, blood on people's hands, a dead teacher on the ground," said Brandon Dasent, a junior. "It's insane."
Parents, meanwhile, began receiving frantic text messages from their children. Sean Jordan and his wife were both texting their daughter Sophie, a sophomore, who was hiding in a classroom.
"She said she heard shots," he said. "She was saying, 'I'm on the floor.' We just said, put a bag in front of you."
Many students who'd hidden in classrooms waited an hour or two for law enforcement personnel to help them escape. They were escorted to staging sites a few blocks from the school.
"I'm just waiting for my parents to come pick me up," said Nicole Rodrigues, a sophomore, who was standing at a staging site at the corner of Holmberg Road and University Drive. "There's a lot of traffic. We're just waiting to see what's going to happen."
WLRN Reporters Caitie Switalski, Terence Shepherd and Peter Haden contributed to this report.