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Buses Ferried Students To Tearful Reunions After Shooting

Authorities began to evacuate students from the high school after the shooting. Hundreds of parents were sent to wait in a Fred Meyer parking lot, where police and counselors helped them reunite with their children one by one.

Ryan Haas

As students arrived, some began to describe what they heard and saw.

Reynolds High School junior Alex Derbyshire was walking his girlfriend to class when he heard a voice on an intercom say the school was in lock down and it was not a drill.

He took shelter in a windowless portable classroom with 40 other students.

“I was just scared and frantically texting all my friends to make sure that nobody I knew was hurt,” Derbyshire said.

Derbyshire says police eventually evacuated the students and searched them all for weapons at a church across from the school.

Derbyshire was reunited with his mother, Pam, at the Fred Meyer parking lot. She’s grateful her son is okay. 

“I never would have believed something like this could happen at Reynolds High School I mean, he’s a junior and I’ve been nothing but impressed with the school. We’ve never had any problem with violence or anything,” she said.

Derbyshire family is relieved to be reunited.

Derbyshire family is relieved to be reunited.

Amelia Templeton

Another student, freshman Brandan Smetana says he was in the gym when he heard loud gunshots nearby. At first, he thought the sound was firecrackers, or some kind of prank.

“After we heard it again, everybody sprinted to the back hallway, in between the weight room and the gym. And we sat down and waited, barricaded the door. And then the police opened it up and made us come out with our hands up. “

He was met by his mother at the parking lot.

Waves of TriMet buses brought students there throughout the morning and early afternoon. Worried parents were told to wait behind a line of police tape and raise a hand as soon as they spotted their child.

Rena Van Meter searched for her daughter Nova’s red hair and green shirt in the crowd of kids.

Rena Van Meter

Rena Van Meter

Amelia Templeton

“I have not heard from her yet  but I did see her on the news being escorted safely out of the school with the other students, and that’s how I knew she’s okay,” Van Meter said.

Physically okay, but Van Meter says she’s worried about her daughter’s mental health. Nova is autistic.

“I don’t know where she was at, if she witnessed anything. I need to make sure that her mental well-being is good.”

Counselors and medical staff were on hand to comfort students and parents as they reunited.


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