DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Parkland, Florida, community is still trying to understand the tragic events of Wednesday's deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and so are former students like 19-year-old Kamrie Bazel, whose family moved to Parkland from Iowa years ago. Bazel graduated last year and knew the gunman, Nikolas Cruz.
“I was so scared, it's just crazy because the building it happened in, I had class in, I had friends...it's crazy, you never think a place like this would be the pinpoint for a mass shooting,” said Bazel via Skype.
What Bazel says is even crazier is that during her time at the school, she had class with Cruz, who has now confessed to the shooting.
“You know, every single day I would walk into class and you would never expect him to do such a horrible thing. It's absolutely crazy. Like, knowing I sat right next to a mass shooter...it's absolutely crazy,” she said.
Bazel describes him as quiet and a bit off, but says there were enough warning signs that something was coming.
“I followed him on social media before all the pictures were taken down, you know, all of the pictures were of guns and ammo and a bunch of crazy stuff that should have been reported. No one really took it seriously,” said Bazel.
Kamrie's mother Stephanie has since moved back to Des Moines. She says it's beyond time those in power come up with ideas on how to help stop future mass shootings.
“I think hearing her voice to me this morning kind of summed it up, she said anybody can get in there. Yeah, they've got guards, yeah, they've got that, but what else is going to be done?” said Stephanie Bazel.
She pondered what has changed since she went to school in Iowa, where students would bring their hunting rifles to class without incident. Then the phone rang and it was Kamrie, who said her community college was on lockdown. It ended up being a drill sent out by mistake, but Stephanie, through tears and an expression of shock, demonstrated that fearing the worst has become the new normal for parents and students across the country.
"And that's what we deal with now in today's society. You should never get a call like that from your student's college or school. It just shouldn't happen!” said Stephanie.
There have been 18 school shootings in the United States since January 1st.