A hero teacher, a fearless football coach and teenagers only just starting high school were among the 17 dead after a gunman opened fire on students and staff at a Florida high school.
The identities of those killed in the deadly attack were revealed by heartbroken family and loved ones a day after suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz loosed a barrage of bullets in the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Family and friends desperately circulated the images of missing students in hopes of their return after Wednesday’s shooting.
But hours after the deadly spree at the Parkland school, Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg’s worst fears were confirmed. Their daughter Jaime Guttenberg was identified as a victim of the massacre as condolences poured in for the teenager, Local 10 News reported.
Earlier in the day, Fred Guttenberg shared that his son Jesse was safe, and enlisted the help of his Facebook friends by writing, “We cannot reach Jaime. If anyone has a child who saw or spoke to Jaime please call me.”
Meadow Pollack and Luke Hoyer were similarly reported missing in the immediate aftermath of the bloody attack. Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, confirmed his daughter’s death Thursday morning, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Hoyer’s grandfather said they were watching the news when he and his wife realized the shooting had occurred at their youngest grandson’s school.
“The day went by and we didn’t hear anything about Luke. We kept hoping they would find him wandering around in shock,” his grandmother, Janice Stroud, toldWYFF.
“Finally, they called us at 1 a.m. and said Luke was among the students that had been killed.”
Martin Duque, a 14-year-old freshman, also died in the shooting, the Miami Herald reported. His older brother Miguel, who graduated from the Parkland high school last year, confirmed the news in an early morning Instagram post.
“Words can not describe my pain,” he wrote Thursday. “I love brother Martin. You’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place.”
Another freshman, 14-year-old Gina Montalto, died from her injuries late Wednesday night. She was a member of the school’s winter guard team, which was slated to perform at a regional event in Tampa over the weekend.
Gunman in Florida high school massacre ordered held without bond
“My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel,” one of her former color guard instructors, Manuel Miranda, told the Herald. “She was the sweetest soul ever. She was kind, caring, always smiling and wanting to help.”
Peter Wang, 15, and Alex Schachter, 14, were also killed in the gunman’s rampage.
“He wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to grow old with me. Please share his story,” Wang’s cousin, Aaron Chen, told First Coast News.
Schacter, a freshman trombone player in the Stoneman Douglas marching band was proud of his school’s state championship win earlier this year. His father confirmed his death to the New York Times and described him as a “sweetheart of a kid.”
Nick Dworet had only just received an academic scholarship and committed to joining the University of Indianapolis swim team when the shooting occurred. Often called “swim daddy,” the Douglas senior was captain of the swim team and has spent the last year climbing the ranks and improving his speeds, the Indy Star reported.
Fellow athlete Alyssa Alhadeff was also confirmed dead Thursday afternoon. Ryan Block, from Parkland soccer club, mourned the 15-year-old freshman in a Facebook post.
“To Alyssa’s friends, honor Alyssa by doing something fabulous in your life,” her family said in a statement. “Dont’ ever give up and aspire for greatness. Live for Alyssa! Be her voice and breathe for her. Alyssa loved you all forever!”
Aaron Feis, who worked as an assistant football coach and security guard, was critically injured when he shielded students from the gunfire. The school football team confirmed he succumbed to his injuries overnight, saying that he “died a hero.”
Fla. school gunman Nikolas Cruz faces premeditated murder charges
Tyra Hermans stood outside the Florida school with a pair of signs on Thursday—one about gun control, the other about Feis and her friend, Joaquin Oliver.
The 19-year-old said she’d been friends with Oliver since her freshman year and saw her pal for the last time before the shooting began Wednesday.
Communications director with the school’s football programs Denise Lehtio also confirmed athletic director Chris Hixon had been shot and killed, according toCNN.
Officials with Broward County Sheriff’s office Thursday afternoon said Helena Ramsey and Cara Loughran were also among the dead.
Candidate continues ‘AR-15 Giveaway’ following Florida shooting
Loughran’s neighbor took to Facebook after the tragedy to remember the teen.
“You will be greatly missed, and we will always love and celebrate your beautiful life,” she wrote.
Geography teacher Scott Beigel opened the door amid the chaos Wednesday to let Kelsey Friend and a group of fleeing students into his classroom, Friend recalled during a tearful interview on GMA. When Beigel attempted to re-lock the door, the gunman walked by and shot him dead.
“He unlocked the door and let us in. I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t,” Friend sobbed. “When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so that we could stay safe but he didn’t get the chance.”
Fla. shooting survivors slam Trump’s prayers and condolences
The Mormon Church Thursday afternoon said two members of the religion attended the Florida school where the attack unfolded. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints said 14-year-old Alaina Petty was killed in the shooting and that 17-year-old Madeleine Wilford was seriously injured.
They were both members of a Mormon congregation based in Coral Springs.
Students barricaded themselves inside classrooms, hid in closets and ran from the building after gunshots rang out at the school on Wednesday afternoon.
Cruz, who may have set off the fire alarm so students would flood the hallways before he opened fire, concealed himself in the crowds and slipped away after the carnage, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Mnuchin backtracks on call to Congress to review gun violence
The 19-year-old was taken into custody about an hour later, and taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure for labored breathing, police said.