It was a scene of chaos, confusion and pain, where the agonised screams of family members were audible from the parking lot of a school where 19 young children and two adults were killed in a school shooting in Texas.
On Tuesday afternoon, a teenager, armed with two assault rifles, opened fire on children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas – making it the deadliest assault at an American school in a decade.
The shocking act of violence, which has ripped yet another American town to pieces, has once again prompted calls for greater gun control across the country.
As the news spread, frantic parents waited to find out if their children were safe.
“No one is telling me anything,” said Ryan Ramirez, the parent of a fourth-grade student.
“And one of the parents was saying that there’s kids possibly held at the funeral home. That’s what brought me over here – to find out what’s going on.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, said the 600 children who attended the primary school were aged from five or six to about 12 years old.
Distraught families gathered at a local civic centre and turned to social media to mourn and to make desperate pleas for help finding missing children.