Uvalde school shooting

‘How Does Somebody Come Back From This?': Small Texas City Grapples With Mass Shooting

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It’s the harsh reality that we’ve sadly grown accustomed to here in America — at the site of the latest mass shooting, where 19 kids lost their lives along with two brave teachers, the small Texas city of Uvalde grew big enough to stand strong for all of us.

"Uvalde is known for a lot of good things, and there is beauty in everything," said resident Cristela Lipech. "And I just pray we get over this."

NBC 6 spoke to a group of high schoolers who knew both the shooter and some of the victims. They are trying to make sense of it all.

"In the beginning, you don’t think it’s real," Frank Salazar said. "You never thought something like this could happen in this town. But it does."

Throughout the day after the massacre, families of the survivors and those who knew the victims stopped by the Robb Elementary School to drop off flowers and pay their respects.

One woman, who did not provide her name, is the parent of two 8-year-olds. Both of her young kids were at the school when the 18-year-old gunman — armed with an assault rifle and wearing body armor — opened fire.

She rushed to the scene and frantically began searching for her kids, until she found them.

"I wish that the police department could’ve done more and saved more lives," she said. "If I hadn’t jumped that fence and gotten my own children — I’m very glad I risked my life to save their lives."

A small community is in mourning after a gunman killed more than 20 people at an elementary school. NBC 6's Cristian Benavides reports from Uvalde, Texas

She said one of her kids saw the gunman on campus, walking around with a gun during recess.

One man told NBC 6 that his nephew witnessed a teacher being shot and killed.

"They started hearing gunshots," Adolfo Hernandez said. "... He heard commotion, he saw a teacher get hit and a student get hit."

At least 19 children and two teachers were killed on Tuesday.

"How does somebody come back from this, someone so young?" Hernandez said. "It messes me up — I’m good friends with people in this community. Nobody deserves this."

"Hug your kids," he said. "Today it was our kids. Tomorrow might be yours."

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