Parents, students recount frightening moments after shot fired at Bountiful school

Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 10:03:44-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- There was a wide range of emotions in Bountiful Thursday, starting with fear and ending with relief.

Mother Candy Beckstead couldn't help but think the worst at first after an armed student fired a shot in a classroom.

"A little freaked out, in panic mode," she said. "Different things going through my mind, where he is and if he’s OK."

A sea of anxious parents, including Tim Hallisey, gathered in the parking lot of a LDS Church that sits across the street from the school.

"He texted us and said, 'I think there is an active shooter on campus. We’re on lockdown but were safe,'" Hallisey said.

Many of those parents were receiving similar texts from their kids, but it would still be hours before they could hug them and look them in the eye.

Jesse Barkdull, an 8th grader at Mueller Park Junior High, describes the moment he realized something was wrong.

"We were about to take a test," Jesse said. "We were all studying for five minutes and all of the sudden the alarm went off."

Katherine Maynard, a 9th grader, says it became really terrifying when she realized it wasn't a drill.

"It was kind of scary at first knowing it was a real lockdown," she said. "I kind of felt bad for the person who had the guns. I don’t know what was going through his head."

The boy who brought the guns was quickly apprehended and placed in custody. Then everyone had to wait. The parents waited inside the warmth of the LDS Church while the students waited in their classrooms.

"We just hung out in the classroom and we stayed there and waited until our name was called," Katherine said.

Everyone was waiting for the moment best described by Beckstead.

"When I can hug him and hold him, make sure he’s okay," she said.

Many of the parents took their kids home, but Mueller Park Junior High did remain open with counselors on hand for students who could not leave early.