"You're rushing over here, and you can't get to where you need to go," he said, relieved to know his son was safe.
John Voket, one of two associate editors of the Newtown Bee, arrived on the scene at about 10:15 a.m. Everything seemed surreal, time seemed to have halted.
His colleague, Shannon Hicks, is also a volunteer firefighter and received a dispatch from the fire department to respond to the shooting. She was one of the first people on the scene.
One of her photos captured what may have been the first students evacuating the school, the panic evident on their faces.
Voket knew many of the parents. He also knew many of the emergency responders. This was turning into a horrific story to cover.
Local officials had sent a massive number of responders, thinking there would be dozens of people to take to hospitals. Two victims were evacuated for medical care, but soon it became clear that there would be no one else.
Laura Phelps found her kids and held them tight.
Diana Licata arrived at the school and drove over the curb into the firehouse parking lot.
She eyed the children coming out class by class. Where was Kaelyn? Aiden? She couldn't see her children.
She felt she was living Columbine. All those images that had once been relegated to television, that had once been someone else's fears, suddenly were her reality.
She spotted Kaelyn's teacher. "Where is she?" The teacher didn't know.
Then, Licata saw Kaelyn coming out of the school. She grabbed her and told her to go wait inside the fire station. Licata waited for Aiden. But there were no more children coming out of the school. Her heart pounded. She felt a kind of helplessness she could not describe in words.
Where was Aiden? He has to be safe.
Relief came in the form of a text on her phone. Aiden, she learned, was in the firehouse already.
He had come face-to-face with the gunman when he entered Soto's classroom and ran right by him to escape, he later told his parents.
Licata felt guilty in her relief. She knew there were parents whose insides were about to be ripped to shreds.
The families of missing children walked up a rolling hill and past a cemetery to get from the school to the nearby brick firehouse.
This is where the people of Newtown came for lobster bakes and dances to raise money for the volunteer fire department. They knew it as a place of joy -- until Friday.
Parents' lips quivered; their eyes reddened with tears. The firefighters who escorted them seemed almost as shaken.
In the back of the firehouse, there's a common room and a kitchen. A big-screen TV was showing cartoons for the children who were there Friday. Many were siblings of the children who hadn't come out of the school.
The sounds of the cartoons seemed enormously incongruent to what was happening inside, thought John Woodall, a psychiatrist and member of Newtown's interfaith council, who arrived in the early afternoon to help console people.
The firehouse, he said, had become a place to hold people -- physically and emotionally.
Restaurants donated food. Pizza and a full buffet of food were kept warm with Sterno burners. But no one was eating.
Parents were still trying to figure out what had happened. If their child was missing, did it mean he or she was sent to hospital? Did they run out into the nearby woods? The more time that went by with no news, the more desperate they became.