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Anguished parents, children reunite after shooting

"You can't do a lot for random acts of violence. It's the new norm. You can't stop it."


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - A Reynolds High School student is reunited with a family member at the Wood Village Town Center after a shooting took place at the school. Students were bused from the campus to the shopping mall parking lot for the reunification with their parents.Dionne Broadous lost track of time Tuesday morning.

After receiving a text about a school shooting at Reynolds High School, she raced to her car with tears streaming down her face. The mother of a Reynolds High junior prayed the whole drive from Tigard to Troutdale that her son Parrish Broadous-Crawford and other students were safe.

In the parking lot of the Wood Village Fred Meyer, the mother and son reunited, giving each other a huge hug.

"I felt like God was watching over me on that drive," Broadous said.

Broadous-Crawford was about to start his second-to-last day of school when all of a sudden he heard someone speak over the intercom, saying "This is not a drill — this is a real lockdown!"

The next few minutes became a blur as his language arts teacher had students huddle in a corner away from the classroom door.

Broadous-Crawford described a sense of confusion as the reality of the shooting set in and the class listened to the police scanner.

Buses, police cars, reporters and pacing parents on cell phones — looking for their children — filled the lot down the street from Reynolds High School and in the Wood Village Fred Meyer parking lot in the aftermath of this morning's school shooting.

Tears and chaos enveloped the crowd as they tried to make sense of the morning and sought the latest updates.

Brad Riegel, father of a 17-year-old Reynolds student, was standing in the parking lot near Safeway waiting to hear about the location of his daughter.

Meanwhile, his wife was making her way to Fred Meyer in Wood Village, where police told parents they could be reunited with their children.

Hanna Riegel, a junior at Reynolds, was inside the school when the shooting took place.

Brad Riegel said he was in his front yard when he heard police sirens roaring down streets. He said the sirens lasted for about 30 minutes before he finally walked inside and turned on the television.

“Then I saw it on the news,” Riegel said.

Like any parent, he hoped his daughter was OK.

He texted her. Hanna responded.

“That was a good feeling,” Riegel said.

The young woman told her father the school was in lockdown and she was in some room with the lights turned off.

The two texted back and forth before students were asked not to text anymore.

The students were soon told they could send another text out to parents to let them know they were safe.

Riegel said he felt helpless to protect his daughter.

“You can't do a lot for random acts of violence,” he said.

Word of a school shooting, also didn't seem to surprise him much.

“It's the new norm,” he said. “You can't stop it.”

Riegel was looking forward to seeing Hanna.

“It all hits you when you meet up with your kid.”

Sara Brown-Pirtle and family friend Cindy Wright waited at Fred Meyer for Noah Edgmon, 15, Brown-Pirtle's son.

Brown-Pirtle said she was overcome with panic and fear as she heard the news around 8:30 a.m.

Edgmon had been in health class when the shots erupted. He sent a text message that read, "I want my mom right now."

"This is one of the largest schools in the state, but it feels like a small, tight knit community," Pirtle-Brown said. "It's like a family."

Another mother, Barbara King, was anxiously waiting for her sophomore Jesse Williams at Fred Meyer.

"It feels like schools and colleges are so at-risk anymore," King said. "We need to talk to kids about awareness and their surroundings. What can we do? When I was in high school, we may have seen a fight or something, but nothing like this."

Reynolds High counseling support is available at the following locations from 1-9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 11: Wood Village Fred Meyer for students and parents and Mt. Hood Community College's gymnasium at 26000 S.E. Stark St. Counseling is also available through Multnomah County's Crisis Help Line at 503-988-4888.