"They told us we had to be quiet," Bolton told The Associated Press. "They said something went on in the courtyard." Bolton said he was unaware that anyone had been shot until a reporter asked him about it.
Shakita Walker, whose daughter is an eighth-grader at the school, said she received a text from her that said, "Ma somebody's shooting and somebody got shot." Walker, who works at another school, said she jumped in her car and was thinking "just hurry up and get there."
Walker said her daughter called to tell her that they were being kept in the gymnasium, but she said she was anxious to see her to make sure she was OK.
The fear and anxiety was palpable in the crowd, as one person yelled, "Does anyone know what happened?"
Superintendent Davis sympathized with concerned parents who complained that it took too long for students to be released from the building. He said emergency procedures were followed according to protocol and school district officials would meet Friday to review their response. Calls to the school district were not immediately returned.
Mayor Kasim Reed condemned gun violence in a statement shortly after the shooting and said counselors were at the school to meet with students, faculty and family members.
"Gun violence in and around our schools is simply unconscionable and must end," Reed said. "Too many young people are being harmed, and too many families are suffering from unimaginable and unnecessary grief."
Outside the school, Laquanda Pittman said she still hasn't heard from her sixth-grade son. She said she heard the news of the shooting on TV and immediately came to the school.
"All types of stuff went through my head. I'm wondering whether it was my child who got shot, is my child OK, did he see what happened?" Pittman said.
She said she just wants to see her son.
"As a parent, you just think you can send your child to school and you hope they come home OK," she said.