A 15-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, tells PEOPLE that he was in the hallway when yesterday’s mass shooting broke out, describing a horrific and surreal scene.
Around 2:20 p.m., Ameer Hussain recalls asking his teacher if he could go get water. After getting a hall pass, he saw his friend in the hallway, and within seconds they began to hear gun shots.
Earlier in the day, the school had already had a fire drill, he says, and there were rumors they were all going to have a fake drill that would sound like gun shots.
“We immediately thought it was that,” he says, saying that people did not immediately run. “I think that’s also why so many people died. They thought it was the drill.”
Ameer and his friend, who were on the second floor of the three-story building, then heard screaming, and the gun shots became louder from the ground floor. Ameer then walked down the stairwell with his friend and saw “a dead body on the ground.”
“We looked at each and ran,” he says. “I went back to the second floor and he ran to the third.”
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In the brief time he was away from his classroom, the fire alarm went off once again, and school protocol says no one is allowed in the classroom when fire alarms go off.
“I knocked on the first classroom door and no one answered,” he says. “You can’t let anyone in no matter what. I thought I was going to die.”
But thankfully, he says, his teacher let him back in his classroom. Kids stayed quiet in the corner as they waited to see what would happen next. People began to whisper and one girl received a text message that her friend had been killed.
“Videos started to spread,” he says. “It was really bad. We knew this wasn’t a drill.”
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The shooter, he says, came to the second floor. They heard him screaming as he continued to shoot for what felt like “forever.”
“You have no idea how many bullets he had,” says Ameer, who has two other siblings at the school who weren’t hurt. “It seemed like it was out of a video game.”
Ameer, who was closest to the door, was told by police to open it when they arrived at the scene.
“They said they will shoot or break down the window or door,” he says. “Everyone did a good job saying no because he could have been the shooter.”
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They broke down the door, glass shattered, and everyone was told to put their hands up.
“A rifle was pointed at my face,” he says. “But we knew we were safe. They gave us hope.”
As they made their way out of the building, Ameer vividly remembers numerous bodies lying on the ground and “so much blood everywhere.”
A classmate fell into his arms when they made it out of the building safely and Ameer says he hasn’t stopped crying since it happened.
“This is a non-violent school,” he says. “Bad things don’t happen here.”
Just hours after the shooting began, he says, “I’m still trying to wake up from this. I love my family but right now I need to be with friends. We went through this together. So many people died and more are missing.”