Panic turned to re­lief as son OK

Boston Herald - - NEWS - — owen.boss@boston­her­ald.com

John Obin, 52, a Lynn na­tive who now lives in Coral Springs, Fla., was among the panic-stricken par­ents who des­per­ately raced to Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Fla., yes­ter­day after re­ceiv­ing word that a mass shoot­ing was un­fold­ing at his 14-year-old son’s school.

Obin, who strug­gled to come to grips last night with how close he came to los­ing his son, told the Her­ald’s Owen Boss how stu­dents and teach­ers thought the at­tack was all part of a sched­uled drill un­til his son heard a bar­rage of gun­shots.

“The stu­dents and teach­ers were all told that they were go­ing to be run­ning a drill in case some­thing like this hap­pened and the teach­ers weren’t in­formed of when it was go­ing to be tak­ing place — so when this was all hap­pen­ing, many of them thought it was just a drill, even as they were run­ning out and they saw the bodies in the hall­way . ... But at one point, my son’s friend, his dad is a Coral Springs cop, he texted him to let him know his dad was re­spond­ing to his school and that it was all real . ...

I was out on a call, I was chang­ing an air con­di­tioner on a roof when my wife called be­cause we got a yel­low alert from the school and it said some­thing was hap­pen­ing at the mid­dle school. So I texted my wife and said, ‘No, it said it was at the mid­dle school,’ but then I got a text back from my wife that said, ‘Nope, it was a shoot­ing at (our son’s) school . ...

So I pan­icked, I freaked out . ... We have him on GPS, so I could see he was still in the class­room, and I knew they were sup­posed to have some kind of drill. ... I can’t even tell you the things that go through your mind in that sit­u­a­tion. Even if you know he’s OK be­cause you talked to him on the phone, it’s still hard. I was choked up, I couldn’t breathe . ...

When I talked to him, he said his teacher had held the door shut and every­one hid in the room un­til a cop busted the win­dow in and led them all out . ... He said he heard gun­shots and saw bodies on his way out — both in­side and out­side the school . ...

After I talked to him, I knew he had walked quite a dis­tance from the school but my wife and I weren’t able to get to him . ... My wife kept get­ting de­terred by the cops, so I parked my van and just walked over and they had cops all around at ev­ery cor­ner and they wouldn’t let you in . ...

Our hearts go out to the fam­i­lies who lost loved ones, or whose kids were hurt . ... I’m still shak­ing, my wife is still shak­ing, we’re just in shock, think­ing that this could have been so much worse . ... Right now I’m just hold­ing my son. Thank God he’s home.”

‘I can’t even tell you the things that go through your mind in that sit­u­a­tion.’ — JOHN OBIN, sur­viv­ing stu­dent’s fa­ther

AP PHO­TOS; LEFT PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE OBIN FAM­ILY

HAR­ROW­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE: John Obin, above left, with his son, John, 14, who was in class at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School yes­ter­day at the time of the mass shoot­ing there. Above right, a stu­dent shows a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial cell­phone video of the event. Be­low, stu­dents are evac­u­ated from the fa­cil­ity.

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