When the announcement came over the PA system yesterday that Newtown High School was going into a lockdown, one senior said students thought it was a drill even though the message said it was not.
Still, students followed instructions and took to secure locations with their teacher. As time went on and information began to come through via text message and Twitter, the reality of the situation hit Michelle Spanedda particularly hard.
The 17-year-old's brother is a third-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and, at that time yesterday morning, Spanedda said she heard a student had been injured in a shooting there.
"I was literally bawling," she said. "I was thinking worst case scenario. It was really hard."
About an hour later she was overcome with an incredible sense of relief when her father texted her that her brother, Michael, was OK. "It felt so good," Spanedda said Saturday morning while working at Demitasse Cafe in downtown Sandy Hook.
Like the rest of residents of Newtown, though, Spanedda is still trying to come to grips with the magnitude of the tragedy, which is one of the most deadly school shootings in history. There was a noticeable sense of sadness in her voice as she spoke.
And there is a question on her mind, too:
"I just want to know what led to him going into the elementary school. What led him to go inside the school?"
Police have not released the identify of the shooter, nor a motive, or the identity of the 26 victims that includes 20 children [See story here.]
Last night, Spanedda said she spent hours watching the news with her parents. Her brother watched TV, as well, but not the news, she said.
Today, she said she's kind of just going through the motions. And tomorrow she plans on attending the interfaith vigil at the high school.