A California school shooting survivor says 'I wasn't surprised that it happened'

By Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) -- Terrified and huddled in the corner of a classroom, sisters Jaimee and Madi Roeschke were ready to take on the gunman.

"One of the students that was with us passed scissors out to everybody," Madi told CNN's "New Day" Monday.

"In some of the drills from last year, they taught us to arm ourselves with anything that we could, such as scissors, chairs, any heavy objects, just in case the shooter were to find us."

The gunman apparently shot randomly at Saugus High School in California on Thursday. The 16-year-old killed Grace Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14.

While the Roeschke sisters hid, Madi texted their mother to ask her to call 911.

"Shooter Gunshots I love you I'm with jaimee," Madi's first string of texts read.

The mother frantically responded, telling her daughters to stay hidden and quiet.

Madi tells her mom the students in her classroom had armed themselves.

"We all have scissors and chairs," Madi texted.

The sisters survived, but now they're wracked with grief over the deaths of their schoolmates.

Adding to the tragedy, Madi said she wasn't surprised by the shooting.

"Of course it was very hard, and a traumatic experience. But with the state of America right now, with gun control not being strict enough, with kids being able to access guns so easily, it didn't surprise me," she said.

"I honestly was never in shock. I was just crying with my sister, hoping that we would be safe. But I wasn't surprised that it happened."

10,000 mourners gather to honor the victims

At a vigil for the victims Sunday night, "I was crying the whole time for Gracie and Dominic," Madi said.

She was far from alone. More than 10,000 mourners gathered at the vigil in Santa Clarita, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said.

Grace's brother, Riley Muehlberger, broke down as he told the crowd about his "gorgeous, radiant, angelic, caring, intelligent and energetic" sister.

"I watched you grow more and more every day," he said.

"My favorite about you, Gracie, was how funny you were. You were always able to put a smile on my face, and that's one of the things I'll miss the most," he said.

"Thank you for being the best sister ever. I wouldn't want anyone else. Until I see you again, I love you, Gracie."

The massive crowd also grieved the death of Dominic, who was a member of the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC).

"The school shooter took away one of my friends," Andrew Gardetto said, according to CNN affiliate KTLA. "He injured me, he injured many people and he traumatized the entire school and community."

The motive might never be known

Authorities said the gunman, Nathaniel Berhow, took a .45-caliber pistol from his backpack at the quad area of the high school, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Investigators said he appeared to fire at random before shooting himself on his 16th birthday. He died the next day.

The motive for the attack remains a mystery.

"There's nothing really that stands out (with the suspect). He wasn't a loner. Wasn't socially awkward. Was involved in student activities. Student athlete," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

"This is kind of out of the blue, shocking pretty much everyone who knew him."

There appears to be no connection between the shooter and the victims other than all were students.

Saugus High School had an active shooter drill just a few weeks ago, the sheriff said. The faculty and students did exactly as they were trained, he said.

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