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'We thought it was fireworks'

Emma Pittman
Emma Pittman describes how teacher Shannon Wright saved her life   

Girl saved by teacher recounts shooting

March 26, 1998
Web posted at: 12:55 p.m. EST (1755 GMT)

JONESBORO, Arkansas (CNN) -- If not for the quick and sure movements of her sixth-grade English teacher, Emma Pittman's parents might count their daughter among the five dead or 10 wounded. Instead, teacher Shannon Wright, 32, pushed Emma aside and took a shot that killed her.

Emma was unharmed, but the shooting rampage cost four girls and the Westside Middle School teacher their lives. Police say the killers were one of Wright's former pupils -- a 13-year-old boy -- and an 11-year-old boy who also went to the school.

Wright family
Shannon Wright with her husband, Mitchell, and their 2-year-old son   

In an interview with CNN affiliate KAIT, Emma recalled the circumstances of the incident from its start, after a fire alarm went off. "We thought it was fireworks, we thought it was a play," Emma said of the moments before the grisly scene unfolded. "And a bunch of people were clapping and laughing ... we thought that they were just playing."

As Emma recounts in this VXtreme streaming video, she feels now that her teacher was "a hero."


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