Like many children across America, Jayden Perez had practiced what to do in a mass shooting at his school. But the 10-year-old never thought it would happen. On Tuesday, it did.
Just 90 minutes after he and his family celebrated his making the honor roll at Robb Elementary, a shooter killed 19 children and two teachers at the school in his small town of Uvalde, Texas.
Jayden and a few of his classmates hid in a storage area for backpacks during the shooting. Others in his class were under a table, told CNN. The entire time, he wondered what was going to happen to them.
Now, Jayden fears it will happen again, and he and other children are afraid of going back to school.
“Because after what happened, I don’t want to,” Jayden said. “I don’t want anything to do with another shooting or me in the school.”
Edward Timothy Silva, a second-grader at Robb Elementary, also worries about returning after summer break.
“It breaks my heart,” his mother, Amberlynn Diaz, told CNN’s Laura Coates. “I just don’t want him to be afraid of school. I want him to continue learning and not be scared of going back to school. I want him to have a normal life again.”
Edward, in a classroom close to the one where the fatalities occurred, heard “loud noises,” he said. “Kind of like fireworks.”
A woman who works for the school told him and his classmates to hide, he said, as the lights were turned off inside of the classroom.
He and his classmates had been having active shooter drills since they were in kindergarten, he said. On Tuesday, “I learned that we were having a real drill,” he said.
Some of his classmates in the room were crying, and he prayed, Edward said. “I was praying, thinking: Why is this happening?”
Diaz said she was told the shooter was next door to her son’s classroom.
“That’s when I completely lost it,” she said.
It was 40 long minutes before she found out that he was safe.
“I had to rush over there to make sure,” she said. “I had to see him to believe them.”
Now, Edward is sleeping with his parents again, and he is afraid of guns.
“I’m scared someone might shoot me,” he said.
During his interview with CNN, Jayden started listing the names of friends who were killed. Then he stopped, looked at a row of crosses behind him bearing their names and said, “Basically all of them.”
Now the child is reminding everyone to hug those you love, while you can.
“You never know when you can lose someone close to you,” he said.
CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.