Florida high school massacre: Portraits of the 17 victims
Mark Wilson/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) — From a beloved football coach to college-bound high school seniors, 17 people lost their lives in a mass shooting at a South Florida high school Wednesday.
More than a dozen others were injured in the Valentine’s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, a former student, was arrested.
Here is what we know about the 17 victims:
Scott Beigel, 35
Teacher Scott Beigel died while saving others, according to student Kelsey Friend.
Friend told “Good Morning America” that Beigel unlocked a classroom door and started letting students inside.
“I had thought he was behind me … but he wasn’t,” Friend said, crying.
“When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we can stay safe. And he didn’t get the chance to,” Friend said, noting that her teacher was lying on the floor.
“I’m so thankful he was there to help everybody,” she added.
Gina Montalto, 14
Gina Montalto also died in the shooting, her mother, Jennifer Montalto, said in a Facebook post.
“She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered. She will be missed by our family for all eternity,” the post said.
Nicholas Dworet, 17
“The family is heartbroken and devastated to have lost Nicholas,” the family of Nicholas Dworet said in a statement. “He was a happy young man full of joy and life.”
“He was extremely passionate about swimming,” the family said, and “Nicholas was thrilled to be going to University of Indianapolis to join their swim team. He dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best.”
Robert Manuel, president of the University of Indianapolis, where Dworet would have attended this fall, said in a statement, “Nick’s death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home. Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers.”
Christopher Hixon, 49
Athletic director and head wrestling coach Christopher Hixon was among the victims, said Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob.
“Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back,” Jacob said. “Chris has a son with Down syndrome. He put needs of everyone else before his own.”
“It is so senseless,” he added.
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was among the dead.
Her father, Fred Guttenberg, was overcome with emotion as he spoke of her death at a place where “she was supposed to be safe.”
“My job is to protect my children,” Fred Guttenberg said at a vigil Thursday, his voice cracking. “And I sent my kid to school.”
“In the morning sometimes things get so crazy, she runs out behind and she’s like, ‘I got to go, Dad, bye.’ And I don’t always get to say, ‘I love you,'” Guttenberg said at the vigil. “I don’t remember if I said that to Jaime yesterday morning.”
“Jaime was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead,” he said, his voice trembling. “I don’t know what I do next. My wife is home. We are broken. But I can tell you — don’t tell me there is no such thing as gun violence.”
To the children at the vigil, Guttenberg said, “When you look at us parents like we are crazy, like we are trying too hard to protect you, like we are trying too hard to tell you what not to do … just remember it’s because we love you and we never want to go through the tragedy of losing you.”
To the parents, he said, “love your kids, hold your kids, kiss your kids. And don’t ever, ever miss the chance to tell them how much you love them.”
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Martin Duque Anguiano, a 14-year-old freshman, was among those killed. His older brother Miguel, who graduated from the same school last year, 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.”
Aaron Feis, 37
School football coach and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate Aaron Feis was one of the 17 killed, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
“When Aaron Feis died … he did it protecting others, guarantee that because that’s who Aaron Feis was,” Israel told reporters. “He was one of the greatest people I knew. He was a phenomenal man.”
The sheriff described Feis as a beloved football coach who was well-known in the local community.
“I coached with him. My two boys played for him,” Israel said. “The kids in this community loved him, adored him.”
Ryan Mackman of West Palm Beach said he grew up in Parkland and graduated with Feis from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 1999.
“I never thought something like this could happen,” Mackman, now 37, told ABC News Thursday. “The whole community is just stunned.”
Mackman said he heard from other former classmates who were close with Feis that he was apparently shot while shielding students from the spray of bullets.
“He was always a really good guy,” Mackman said. “But the fact that he died saving lives, the guy’s a hero. There’s no two ways about it. He was always a giving guy, he was always there for people, he had a big heart. That showed all the way to the end.”
The school’s football team wrote on Twitter, “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was among the dead, said her older cousin, Ariella Del Quaglio, who wrote on Facebook, “My heart is broken.”
“Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our club and community,” according to Ryan Block of the Parkland Soccer Club.
“Alyssa will be greatly missed,” Block said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event.”
Her mother, Lori Alhadeff, with tears on her face, made an emotional plea in an HLN interview Thursday, urging action. “President Trump, please do something! Do something. Action! We need it now! These kids need safety now!” she said.
“How do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school? How do they get through security? What security is there?” Lori Alhadeff screamed. “The gunman — a crazy person — just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child’s door and starts shooting. Shooting her! And killing her!”
Meadow Pollack, 18
Meadow Pollack, 18, “was a beautiful girl, inside and out,” her cousin, Jake Maisner, said, according to The Sun Sentinel.
Pollack was the youngest of 10 grandchildren, Maisner said.
“She was the baby of the family,” he said, according to the Sentinel. “Everyone wanted to protect her.”
Pollack had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, according to WPLG-TV.
“Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy,” said university spokeswoman Jamie D’Aria, according to WPLG-TV. “We were very much looking forward to having her join our community in the fall.”
Joaquin Oliver, 17
Cara Loughran, 14
Cara Loughran, a freshman, was killed in the massacre.
“I never got to say goodbye to her,” Loughran’s friend, Mackenzie Mirsky, told WPLG-TV. “She was such a sweet girl.”
“I can’t close my eyes without thinking of my friend,” Mirsky said.
Luke Hoyer, 15
Alexander Schachter, 14
Peter Wang, 15
Peter Wang’s friend, Gabriel Ammirata, said in a statement, “I’ve known him ever since he’s moved from China in the 3rd grade.” The boys, who had been friends since middle school, bonded over anime movies.
The day of the shooting, Ammirata said, “I knew his fourth period class was in the freshman building. When I got out I texted him and I did everything I could to contact him but I got no answer. I got sent on a bus to the Marriott as did every other student. Once I was done at the Marriott I went home then later met up with his family.”
“I saw his mom, dad and little brother as well as little cousin at the Marriott,” Ammirata said. “Later in the evening two of his older cousins came. … We went to two hospitals to check if Peter was there.”
Ammirata later learned the tragic news from Wang’s mother.
“I want to know the full details of my best friend. I want to know where he was at the time of passing,” Ammirata said.
Alaina Petty, 14
Helena Ramsay, 17
Carmen Schentrup, 16
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