UK & World News
US Shooting: Terrified Children Hid In Closet
Gunshots, children hiding in a closet, sirens, shattered glass - and desperate parents trying to find out if their daughters and sons were alive.
Witnesses have described a horrific scene at a shooting spree at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where at least 20 children were killed.
"I saw policemen - lots of policemen in the hallway with guns. The police took us out of the school," Vanessa Bajraliu, a nine-year-old fourth grader, told the local newspaper Hartford Courant.
"We were told to hold each others' hands and to close our eyes. We opened our eyes when we were outside."
Her 17-year-old brother, Mergim Bajraliu, heard the shots from his nearby home and then the sirens of police cars at the scene.
He rushed to the school, where he said he saw a badly injured girl being carried out, another one with blood on her face.
Some teachers put the students in a closet until police officers told them it was safe to leave the building, US news reports said.
Other children were told by policemen to run away from their classroom and keep going until they reached a firehouse nearby.
"I heard gunshots; I was under a desk with three or four other people," Luie Munguia, an eight-year-old third-grader, was quoted as saying in the reports.
One teacher locked the door and told the students to stand in the corner, said parent Richard Wilford, whose son Richie heard the gunshots and recounted the scene to his father.
Terrified students were crying and holding hands as their teachers escorted them away from the school.
Melissa Makris said her 10-year-old son, Philip, saw what looked like a body under a blanket as he fled the school.
As news of the shooting broke out, parents rushed to the school.
They were in anguish over the fate of their children, some frantically speaking on their mobile phones, others weeping.
"What does a parent think about coming to a school where there's a shooting? It's the most terrifying moment of a parent's life ? you have no idea," said Mr Wilford.
Parents whose children emerged from the school unharmed cried and hugged them.
Residents of Newtown, a small quiet town, were in shock, as police and federal officials surrounded the school and sirens rang out in the chilly day.