Valley students near Capitol when shooting happened - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Valley students near Capitol when shooting happened

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New Hope students at the Capitol. (Source: Sandra T.) New Hope students at the Capitol. (Source: Sandra T.)

A school trip to Washington, D.C. quickly turned frightening for some Tennessee Valley students. 40 students and parents with New Hope Elementary were in line to get inside the Capitol building when they were told shots had been fired nearby.

"When we found out it was a shooting I was absolutely horrified," said Annie Keel. I was just absolutely panicked."

Keel's daughter Olivia and husband Mike were caught in the chaos.

"They were in line to get in the Capitol and that's when the shooting happened and the SWAT team came in and that's when they were evacuating the Capitol. They were mixed up in all that, but luckily they were on the bus and able to get turned around to a safe place," she said. 

Keel said the shooting shook her daughter, who's in the eighth grade along with her fellow classmates.

"She was very scared," said Keel. "She was very shaken up. The children there were looking so forward to going to all the museums and now they are not going to have that opportunity."

The shutdown caused another missed opportunity for the trip.

"The night before their trip, everything was shutdown and barricaded off. [It was] heartbreaking because that's what our country was founded on and for them to miss out on that opportunity was extremely sad," she said. 

The kids were still able do some sightseeing, just not as much as they had hoped.

The children were able to see the Capitol before the shooting. They were going back a second time to take a picture with Congressman Mo Brooks. He arranged for a tour for them when he knew they wouldn't be able to see much because of the shutdown. The children return to the Valley on Sunday.

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