STOCKTON -- Tuesday marks the 28th anniversary of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting. Hundreds gathered to honor the victims and call for sensible gun reform.
"A horrible, horrific day," said Julie Schardt, a second-grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary at the time.
She was inside her classroom with a sick student, when another teacher came running inside.
"She knelt down, and kind of buried her head in her arms and said 'oh my god, they're shooting our kids...' At the same moment I heard these popping sounds, and I realized what she was telling me is someone was on the playground shooting our children," she said.
Patrick Purdy, 24, wounded 32 and killed five children before turning the gun on himself.
"Maybe it was an hour later the principal took me out there because she wanted me to identify my student," Schardt said.
That student, Oeun Lim, was one of the victims honored at St. John the Evangelist Church in Stockton on Tuesday night.
Names of dozens killed by gun violence were also read along with the victims of the tragedy.
Lim's sister, Iep Lim, wonders how mass shooting are still occurring all these years later.
"We're thinking why everything is still going on, shootings, all this stuff should be stopped," said Iep Lim.
Schardt said after the Sandy Hook shooting, she and other teachers from Cleveland Elementary are now active in the Bradey Campaign to help bring sensible gun laws.
"Nobody needs to have a military style assault weapon, except for the military or law enforcement," Schardt told FOX40.
But Democratic Congressman Jerry McNerney, who represents Stockton and California's 9th Congressional District, said its easier said than done, especially with the new political climate in Washington.
"The vast majority of Americans would like to see sensible gun laws and we don't be able to get that done," McNerney told FOX40.
But Schardt said after what she saw 28 years ago, she can't give up.
"Until somebody sees what a weapon like that can do to a human body especially the of an 8-year-old. You can not comprehend the horror of a gun death," Schardt said.