With tears streaming down her face, Deanna Kennedy picked up and hugged her 6-year-old daughter, Kylee Friday.

The little girl ran out of Center Elementary School in Rancho Cucamonga as she has daily since the beginning of the school year, but Friday was different.

Hours before Kylee was released from her kindergarten class, Kennedy, along with millions across the nation, watched in horror as the tragic story from the little town of Newtown, Conn. was broadcast on countless television channels, radio broadcasts and even social media.

"I've been really, really emotional," Kennedy said as she held Kylee, in her arms. "I feel so sad for those little kids."

Kylee looked at her tearful mother, wiped away her tears and said, "Mom, it's all right. Mom, you don't have to cry."

The shootings Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School prompting panic inside and outside the school.

Parents all over Inland Empire received the news of the shooting with disbelief, shock and anger.

Rosa Hernandez said she was terrified a copycat may strike close to home as she picked up her niece from Wilson Elementary School on Belle Street in San Bernardino.

A man picking up his sixth grade daughter from Richardson Preparatory in San Bernardino was at a loss for words, but called the events in Connecticut disturbing and horrible.

"It must be horrific to find out that some whack job was able to just walk in and slaughter babies in the school your kids go to," he said. "I'm in shock and I'm 3,000 miles away."

Most parents expressed their sympathy for the Sandy Hook Elementary parents.

"When I hear something like this, I think about my kids right away and it hurts to think about what the parents must be going through right now especially right before Christmas," said Lorena Garcia who has three children at Jasper Elementary School in Rancho Cucamonga.

"I don't think any school is safe anymore. You never know which random crazy person might be close by."

One parent wondered if allowing teachers and school officials to be armed while on campus could help prevent these incidents from taking place.

"There really is no way to protect from that unless schools allow teachers to open carry their own guns, which won't happen," said Laura Boyd, whose children attend Baldwin Lane Elementary school in Big Bear City.

"It's sad you have to worry (about) sending your kids to school but it happens everywhere. Schools, malls, movie theaters, on the freeways. It's a very sad day."

Sandy Hook Elementary school had recently implemented some safety protocols in order to prevent incidents like Friday morning's shooting from happening, according to reports.

"I heard they buzzed in (the shooter) because they knew him," Kennedy said. "I mean, at that point, they had no idea what he was going to do and they knew him because his mother worked at the school so the buzzer system really couldn't help in that case. That's scary."

Other parents contemplated home schooling their children to ensure their safety.

"When I heard about the shooting in Connecticut, my first thought was that I wanted to go get my daughter from school," said Sallee Glicker of Victorville whose child attend Discovery Elementary School. "My second thought was that I need to look into home schooling for my second grader and her soon-to-be kindergartner sister."

Others were grateful for the extreme precautions taken at some schools to ensure their children's safety.

"I used to question why these schools looked like prisons and had huge gates and (are) locked during school hours," said Paula Cook-Huckabay of Apple Valley who has children at three different High Desert schools.

"Now I'm thankful for that environment, because even though it may not keep one out completely, it does help keep these kids a little safer and alert those that work there of their surroundings."


Reach Beatriz via email, call him at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.

Reach Doug via email, find him on Twitter @CrimeShutterbug, or call him at 909-386-3925.