The Victims of the Parkland, Florida School Shooting
We’re now learning about some of the victims killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 17 people were killed when gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside the high school with an AR-15 rifle.
Here we honor some of the victims and send loving thoughts to their friends and families.
15-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was a soccer player and passionate track runner. Remembrances have been posted by her local soccer club and a Jewish camp which she attended in Georgia. Her mother Lori wrote on Facebook: “Alyssa was a talented soccer player, so smart, an amazing personality, incredible creative writer, and all she had to offer the world was love.”
Scott Beigel was a 35-year-old geography teacher. He opened the door to his classroom so that other students could run in and hide. He was shot while closing the door behind them. One of those students, Kelsey Friend, said: “When he opened the door, he had to relock it so that we could stay safe, but he didn’t get the chance.”
Freshman Martin Duque was described as funny and outgoing. His older brother Miguel wrote on Instagram: “Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place. Duques forever man I love you junior!!!” Miguel has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay funeral expenses.
Nicholas Dworet was an accomplished swimmer who had just committed to attending the University of Indianapolis on a scholarship. His coach, Andre Bailey, said: “This is a kid who went from middle of the pack last year to being just lights out. He helped put our program on the map.”
37-year old Aaron Feis was an assistant football coach and security guard. According to several survivors, he acted as a shield to prevent other students from getting shot. The football team’s Twitter accounted posted: “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”
14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg was a dancer who was described by her cousin Alexa as “beautiful, kind-hearted, driven and funny.” Alexa wrote on Facebook: “You went out of your way to make everyone feel good and that smile… that smile lit up every single room you walked into.” Jaime’s brother Jesse survived the shooting.
49-year-old Chris Hixon was a U.S. Naval reservist and Douglas High’s athletic director and wrestling coach. A colleague said: “Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back.”
Luke Hoyer was found dead on the third floor of the school. His uncle said on Facebook: “This has devastated our family and we’re all in shock and disbelief. Our hearts are broken. Luke was a beautiful human being and greatly loved.”
Freshman Cara Loughran was missing throughout the day the of the shooting. Her older brother, Liam, was reunited with his family within a few hours. Mother Denise kept calling and texting Cara, but there was no answer. According to friend Tara Bazinsky, her parents were “given the news no parent ever wants to hear at 2am.”
15-year-old Gina Montalto volunteered along with victim Jaime Guttenberg at The Friendship Initiative, where they worked with children with special needs. She’s described as a “light and a joy.”
Joaquin Oliver, affectionately known as Guac, was born in Venezuela and had only recently become a U.S. citizen. Friend Nikki Rose wrote on Twitter: “RIP Joaquin not even a year ago we were on a college tour touring the colleges of our dream you had so much ahead of you can’t believe your gone.”
Alaina Petty was 14 years old and an active member of an LDS church in Coral Springs. Her great aunt wrote on Facebook: “There are no hashtags for moments like this. Only sadness.”
Meadow Pollack was a senior who planned to attend nearby Lynn University in the fall. A friend wrote on Facebook: “Her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels.” Another friend wrote on Twitter: “I want my best friend.”
Alex Schachter played marching band and attended the same synagogue as victim Alyssa Alhadeff.
Carmen Schentrup was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist who played violin. A friend who did orchestra with her described her as kind and caring.
Peter Wang was a member of the school’s ROTC program. According to reports, he was shot while holding open a door so that others could escape. His cousin Aaron said: “He wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to grow old with me.”
Maddy Wilford, a junior who plays basketball, was shot several times but is expected to recover after having surgery. A friend is raising money on GoFundMe for the Wilford family.
It goes without saying that we’re thinking about this community and wish them the best as they recover from this senseless tragedy.
You can go to Everytown.org and MomsDemandAction.org to learn more about the movement to prevent gun violence in the United States.
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