On Thursday morning, Cari Small Wright sat in a grocery store parking lot not knowing whether her daughter would live or die.
“I held up in the Albertsons parking lot with other parents who were as scared as I was,” she told CNN on Friday.
Her daughter Shaya, a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, sent her a text message at 7:39 a.m., letting her know there was an active shooter in the school.
“These messages were how I found out and my heart sank,” Wright said. “Shortly after, the school texted.”
A 16-year-old gunman had opened fire with a .45-caliber pistol, unleashing 16 seconds of terror in the school’s quad. He shot five students, before shooting himself as well.
Shaya was unscathed, staying hunkered down in the school’s music library. Her sister, Ayla, also survived the shooting, telling the Los Angeles Times she saw a wounded student being tended to in the choir room.
But others waiting with Wright in the Albertsons parking lot would receive worse news.
“Some of those parents knew the children who were lost,” she said.
Wright reunited with her daughter just after 11 a.m., when Shaya was among the last groups of students released.
She has provided her text conversation with her daughter to CNN.
“When I think of the messages I cry,” Wright said.