A man with an automatic weapon had entered the building and shot five people, including three boys at day camp.
Katey Pianko, a mother who had two children in the daycare center, heard about the shooting from her mother, who saw it on television. Pianko called her husband at work, and separately, they hurried to find their daughter and son. Pianko says she wondered whether they might be hurt or even killed.
|CBS News Special Coverage|
Gunmen With A Grudge
Although she found her aughter quickly, her son was the last one called on the list.
"People said he was okay, though they hadn't seen him and even though he wasn't on a list, she recalled.
"I personally needed to see him. I needed to know that he was okay, that he may not be physically hurt if no one had seen him, I wanted to be sure he wasn't hiding in a bathroom or under a desk or someplace else."
After finding her children, Pianko began the drive home, and learned more about the shooting.
"On the way home, my daughter told me that she heard a rat-a-tat-tat. I don't know whether she did or maybe she heard it from other teachers or other children.
"And my son told me that he had heard about a friend of his, Josh, who had been hit, and about another friend of his, Ben, who had tried to save him. But basically, [he said] that in this kind of a situation to 'pretend that you're a dying lion or dead lion so the bad guy doesn't get you.'"
The mass shooting was the latest at workplaces and schools across the nation.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations advised its synagogues and Jewish schools to tighten security, and police in at least two Southern California counties increased patrols at schools and community centers.
Gov. Gray Davis announced California agencies will form a task force to advise churches and child care centers on improving security.
The Congregation Emanu El Clare Cherry School, a non-secular, private school in this community of 180,000 about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, locked its doors.
"We told the children this was like an earthquake or fire drill. But instead of going outside, we told the children we were doing an inside drill because sometimes you have to stay inside the building," said the school's director, Roni Stein.
A handful of parents called the school concerned about security, she said.
April Wursten was struggling with how to explain the shooting to her youngest son, age 9.
"I think I'll put my arms around him and tell him sometimes rotten people do rotten things, and then let him ask questions. It's something I'd hoped I wouldn't have to discuss with him yet," she said.
Pianko says her children are feeling the effects of the shocking experience. Her son would not go to sleep without his mother near him, and her daughter woke up late at night crying.
She says she feels her children are not safe anywhere after the incident, except "Home with me."