BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A parent’s worst fear became a hard-hitting reality Tuesday as thousands said goodbye to their kids in the morning, only to be dealt the tragic news of a shooting inside Great Mills High School.

“Just, you know, my greatest fear is — I can’t do this, I’m sorry. My greatest fear is losing my daughter, and you don’t know what’s going on,” parent Bill Baxter said.

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After gunfire erupted in a hallway at the St. Mary’s County schools, students were rushed miles down the road to Leonardtown High School, where loved ones packed the parking lot waiting to reunite with their children.

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“Just panic, panic. I didn’t think this morning when I woke up that this would be the circumstances of the day,” Great Mills High School parent Thomesha Williams said.

It was an emotional reunion for many, as student reflected on the chaos that unfolded inside of their halls.

“I was in the middle of the hallway, and it sounded like you would pop a bag, so no one took it seriously,” one student told WJZ’s Rick Ritter.

What followed were heart-pounding moments of wondering what would come next.

“Everyone was running inside a room, we were being yelled at to rush into a room, being pushed,” the student explained.

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Parents were left feeling helpless, praying their child wasn’t a victim.

“I feel sorry for the children who actually are in the hospital, you know, and their parents who weren’t able to come get their child because they’re at the hospital,” Williams said.

The situation that could have easily been a mass casualty incident — what some thought was never possible in their school — has now hit home in Maryland.

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Some parents and students are now begging for change.

“Help us, this is really scary,” another student said.

A vigil was held at the Church of the Ascension in Lexington Park Tuesday night.

The shooting comes just a week after students across the country, including hundreds in Maryland, walked out of their classrooms to protest gun violence.

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Rick Ritter