Fox News senior correspondent Alicia Acuna knows she was lucky to be reunited with her son earlier this month for an emotional embrace on live TV following a mass shooting at his Denver high school.
"Immediately after, I was really, really aware, keenly aware, of all the parents who stand outside the schools in these shootings who don’t get that hug," Acuna told Fox News Digital.
"That’s all I could think about," Acuna said. "It’s still all I can think about now, is how lucky we were to have that moment."
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The nightmare scenario began when Acuna, who also has two stepchildren and a niece enrolled at East High School, was at work at Fox News’ Denver bureau. She then received a text message from her son about a shooting inside East High School.
"He was on lockdown," she said. "I tried texting him some more, trying to get some clarity, because I wasn’t seeing anything on Twitter, from the police."
Acuna then heard from her sister, whose daughter also attends the school and was hiding in a closet, who informed her that every parent’s worst-case scenario was unfolding.
"I tried calling my son, and what really scared me, he said, ‘Mom I have to be completely silent,’" Acuna recalled.
Acuna then called her boss at Fox News, who instructed her to "go be a mom" and not to worry about covering the shooting. She quickly made her way to the school as sirens were heard throughout the city.
"I got there, and I went to the parent reunification center, and I realized it was going to be a while," Acuna said. "I was terrified."
She eventually received a phone call from her son, who informed her that he was safe but would be stuck inside the school for the time being.
"Once I heard his voice, and once I knew that he was OK in the school, and I knew that my husband’s boys, my stepsons, were OK, and my niece, then I went over to the media area… I was kind of a reporter and a mom," she said. "I called my boss and said, ‘I can speak but I can’t speak as a reporter, I can speak as a parent.’"
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Acuna then appeared live on "America Reports" with John Roberts and Sandra Smith for one of the most remarkable cable news moments in recent memory. Acuna walked viewers through her experience and explained frustrations she shared with fellow parents until she finally saw her son in person.
"Excuse me, my son just came up, and I had not seen," Acuna told Roberts and Smith.
"I’m sorry, I had not seen my kid," an emotional Acuna reiterated as they hugged. "I’m so sorry, there is no way you would have let your kid walk by."
Smith told her to step aside and be with her son, if needed, but Acuna quickly got back to work.
"He’s good," Acuna said. "He’s the one that was telling me what was happening."
On Monday, the country was rocked again by a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, killing six people including three children.
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Acuna said looking back at the video hits her harder than it did in real time.
"In that moment ,there was so much going on and then my son was trying to find me, he was texting me, he figured out where we were, and he came over and I was talking to John Roberts and Sandra Smith at the time. And then I saw him and I forgot myself as a reporter, of course, because I just needed to get my hands on my son," she said. "That was really a strange moment because I was so grateful and so sad and furious, all at the same time."
Denver police later identified the suspect as 17-year-old Austin Lyle. His body was found in a remote mountain area about 50 miles southwest of Denver, near the small town of Bailey, in Park County, the Associated Press reported.
Lyle was wanted for the charge of attempted homicide after firing several shots inside the school, striking the two administrators.
Fox News Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.