Daughter of RI native affected by California school shooting

US & World

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (WPRI) — Investigators are still trying to piece together what caused a student to open fire at a California high school on his 16th birthday.

Two students died as a result of the shooting and three others were wounded before the gunman shot himself in the head, according to authorities.

Seven miles away, Bella Potts was on her way to her own classes. The 10th grader said her school was placed on lockdown immediately.

“The sirens were blaring and teachers were yelling at us to go into our classrooms and run as fast as possible and it was just like really chaotic,” Potts recalled. “We didn’t know what was going on.”

Potts said she was pulled into a nearby classroom and was able to contact her mom, a Cranston native, to let her know she was safe.

“She did text me to tell me everything was OK, so it at least felt good to hear that, but just knowing that your kid could be really scared, I think that’s what as a parent is really frightening for you,” Nancy Derderian Potts said.

Bella said she has a bunch of friends who go to school where the shooting took place.

“I saw the footage of all the students walking out in line and it really set in, it was surreal, I saw people I knew and am good friends with and it just didn’t seem real to me,” Bella said.

Nancy said this experience taught her to cherish every moment she spends with her daughter.

“No matter how much your kid is driving you crazy in the morning — when you do that drop-off, say ‘I love you’ and kiss them goodbye — because there are parents today who aren’t going to get to do that tomorrow,” she said.

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