Before the first shots were fired, before the false fire alarm was pulled, freshman Chris McKenna came face-to-face with a killer on a second floor hallway at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
McKenna, 15, was on his way to use a bathroom when he saw Nikolas Cruz loading his weapon.
“You’d better get out of here,” Cruz said, according to McKenna. “Things are gonna start getting messy.”
McKenna froze for a second – then fled.
As he made his way out of the building, he said, he saw assistant football coach Aaron Feis unlocking a gate in preparation for dismissal.
“I told him I saw a gun,” McKenna said. “He said ‘let me go check it out.’ Then he drove me to the baseball field, dropped me off, and went back to the school. That’s the last I saw of him.”
McKenna said he was still with Feis when he heard the fire alarm that precipitated the rampage.
Feis was among the dead.
Three of McKenna’s classmates were killed. A fourth was wounded.
“I’m in shock,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can feel right now.”
David Fleshler, Aric Chokey, Lisa J. Huriash and Linda Trischitta