DENVER (WPIX) -- Children burst into tears in sixth-grader Nate Holley's classroom as gunfire erupted Tuesday.
“It was really chaotic,” the suburban Denver 12-year-old said. “Most of the kids didn't know what to do.”
Nate froze as more gunshots rang out.
A siren rang and someone cracked a joke.
His teacher shushed the students and moved them behind a desk and then to the closet.
“I had my hand on a metal baseball bat just in case,” Nate told CNN's Brooke Baldwin. “'Cause I was gonna go down fighting if I was gonna go down.”
Nate's wrenching account of the deadly shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch is a reminder of what it's like to be a child in the United States in the age of school shootings.
Authorities believe two students, a male and a female, used a pair of handguns to open fire in two classrooms Tuesday. Senior Kendrick Castillo died lunging at one of the shooters. Eight other students were shot but survived.
Now, a community all too familiar with mass shootings is wavering between grief and gratitude over the fact that there weren't more victims.