An assistant college dean and assistant football coach from Massachusetts are safe after being inside the Florida high school where a mass shooting took place on Wednesday afternoon.
Nichols College Assistant Dean of Admissions Paul Brower said he heard the fire alarm and warnings from school officials over the loudspeaker as shots were ringing out.
"All of a sudden across the loudspeaker you hear, 'code red, code red,'" explained Brower over the phone to NBC Boston.
According to The Telegram, Brower was with Nichols College assistant football coach St. Clair Ryan on a recruitment trip.
"Right away, right off the bat, one of the students we were meeting with, it sounded like they were really concerned," Brower said. "I don't think this is a drill."
Brower, who was meeting with another coach, said they immediately locked the door of the room they were in.
"We knew it wasn't a minor issue," he said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Once people's cell phones started going off with information and the gravity of the situation sunk in, they continued to hide in the classroom.
"It seems like the student, the shooter, it was just something where he was trying to blend in, trying to get in the crowd, and trying to get out of there with some of the students who were fleeing," explained Brower.
Eventually, a SWAT team came for them and Brower shot cell phone video of an FBI agent leading them to safety.
"I feel like the folks at Stoneham Douglas were prepared and did everything they could. But hopefully as a society we start to figure out how to start preventing these tragedies," said Brower.
Authorities say 17 people were killed in the shooting when the 19-year-old suspect opened fired with a semi-automatic rifle. The suspect's motive is still unclear but school officials say he had been kicked out of school.