Clayton County

'You feel helpless' Metro Atlanta couple's niece, nephew survive school shooting

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A local couple says two of their family members were inside the Santa Fe High School in Texas when a gunman killed 10 people.

The Clayton County couple says one of the teens had to run to safety.

Gayle and Jerry Beddingfield were on pins and needles as they watched the news of the tragedy unfold. They later heard their niece and nephew were safe.

The family in Texas sent them a picture of the teens as visual proof they were OK.

"That was taken after they got home," Gayle Beddingfield said.

The picture shows the teens safely at home. Gayle Beddingfield says the teens look fine in the picture, but he can tell something is not right.

"You can see the distress on my little niece’s face," she said.


"They were actually behind the school," Jerry Beddengfield said.

He says he and his wife were on pins and needles after learning the teens were on campus during the deadly shooting that also injured 10.

"We can't do anything because we're so far away. So you feel helpless," he said.

Gayle Beddingfield says she learned her niece had to run to safety.

"She ran across the street, hiding behind a building," she said.

The Beddingfields asked us not to use the children's names. The uncle says when he found out they were okay, it was like the birth of a child.

"We had a little girl. She's got all her feet and toes. She's fine," he said.

But they know there are several other families who are not fine -- who are not OK.

"Our hearts are just breaking, and our prayers are going out, Gayle Beddengfield said.

Jerry Beddingfield says this country needs to do some serious soul-searching in order to end these senseless shootings.

"We gotta start listening to one another. We got to start really caring about these children," he said.

Jerry Beddingfield says even though his family members survived, he knows they will still be haunted by this. And it won't help if some of their friends lost their lives.

Comments on this article