Those who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in one of the nation’s worst school shootings in history include a beloved football coach, a senior boy who already earned a swimming scholarship, a beloved geography teacher, a Venezuelan immigrant who recently became a citizen, a national merit scholarship finalist, the school’s athletic director, an Iraq war veteran, and a freshman girl who loved dance.
Several of those who died gave their lives to protect others, such as teacher Scott Beigel, who opened the door of his classroom to usher students inside to safety and was murdered by the gunman. The death toll from the Florida school shooting stands at 17 lost, after police say a 19-year-old expelled student with an obsession over weaponry opened fire inside the high school in Parkland, Florida.
In the hours after the shooting rampage, social media was flooded with photos of students who were still missing and not answering their cell phones as their frantic families tried to get answers. Douglas High is now considered the third or fourth highest death count of any school shooting in U.S. history, depending on whether you count an explosion that killed 42 people in Bath, Michigan in 1927. Authorities identified the suspect as Nikolas Cruz.
Authorities say the victims include 15 wounded in addition to the 17 who lost their lives; most of the dead perished inside the high school when Cruz allegedly pulled a fire alarm and tossed smoke bombs and then opened fire on those confused by the haze and chaos. Some victims were found outside the building. There is a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims’ families.
As names of the victims are confirmed, this post will be updated with further photos and tributes to those who so senselessly lost their lives.
Assistant Football Coach Aaron Feis
In tragedy comes evil as the Florida governor says, but it also produces heroes. Tragically, one of those heroes, football coach Aaron Feis paid with his life. It was clear early on from witness reports that he had been shot but was not clear whether he was still alive. However, CNN is now reporting that the coach has died from his wounds.
An assistant football coach and security guard at the school, Feis “threw himself in front of students” as the shooter opened fire, taking bullets for them, according to CNN. Denise Lehtio, the athletic program’s spokeswoman, told CNN: “He died the same way he lived — he put himself second. He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”
The sheriff said in a press conference that he personally knew Feis. “The kids in this community loved him. They adored him… he was a phenomenal man. When he died tragically, inhumanely, he did it protecting others.” The sheriff predicted that thousands of students would turn out for Feis’ funeral.
You can read more about Feis here:
Jaime Guttenberg, a student at the school, died in the massacre, according to ABC 10 News, which reported that her brother made it home alive. For hours, her photo was shared on Facebook by loved ones desperate to find her.
Jaime was a dancer at Dance Theatre of Parkland, according to tributes left for her on Facebook. She was a freshman at the school.
Jaime’s father, Fred, a local real estate agent, wrote on Facebook, “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family get’s through this. We appreciate all of the calls and messages and we apologize for not reacting to everyone individually. Jen and I will be figuring things out today and so we ask that you respect out privacy. We will be getting messages out later regarding visitation. Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”
Nicholas Dworet was a senior at the high school who had already earned a swimming scholarship. His coach told The Indy Star that Nicholas “trained hard, focused on his schoolwork and went from a middle-of the-pack swimmer to earning a scholarship to join the University of Indianapolis swim team in the fall.”
“I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart, he just took his life in his hands and he chiseled and molded his life,” said Andre Bailey to the newspaper. Azura Florida Aquatics posted a photo of Dworet on Facebook and wrote, “With our hearts full of sadness and incredulity we just learnt that a swimmer of our former partner team TS Aquatics, Nicholas Dworet, was one of the victims of the Douglas School mass shooting in Parkland yesterday. Azura Florida Aquatics sends condolences and prayers to his family and to all the members of TS Aquatics. R.I.P Nicholas.”
A friend wrote on Facebook, “Please pray for the family and friends of Nicholas Dworet. He passed away at Stoneman Douglas high school yesterday. Nick was a hero, thinking of his younger brother before himself through all that evil. May God bless him, the people who loved him, and give us all courage to fight in his honor for a SOLUTION to America’s senseless epidemic of school shootings. Platitudes can no longer be enough.” TS Aquatics remembered Nicholas as “a happy young man who embodied the values of our program.”
CNN reported that Chris Hixon has died, and The Sun Sentinel confirmed that the school’s 49-year-old Athletic Director was shot. A GoFundMe site was established to help his family. “In a senseless act of violence, on February 14th 2018, Mr. Chris Hixon was injured during a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Mr. Hixon was also the athletic director at South Broward from 2000-2012. As a former bulldog, I’m trying to do what I can for a family that did so much for me as an athlete and student,” the page reads. “Mrs, Hixon I will always remember you having me run errands for you on Fridays to bring things to Mr. Hixon. Mr. Hixon, your support of our school’s athletic teams was unwavering especially for your favorite swimmers and water polo players!”
Tributes flooded in for Hixon. According to The Sun-Sentinel, he was an Army reservist who served in Iraq. Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob told The Sun Sentinel: “Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He does so much. That is terrible that it would happen to anybody. It is so senseless.”
The Miami Herald wrote that Gina Montalto was among those who died. She was a 14-year-old freshman who “served on the school’s winter guard team,” according to the newspaper. Manuel Miranda, a former color guard instructor for Gina wrote on social media, “My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel. She was the sweetest soul ever. She was kind, caring always smiling and wanting to help.”
Both Gina and Jaime Guttenberg were volunteers with a Friendship Initiative.
Many people shared Gina’s photo when she was reported missing.
A relative delivered the tragic news that Alyssa had died, writing, “Many innocent souls were taken a few short hours ago. Among them we just got confirmation was my little cousin. My heart is broken ? not sure what i can even say I am at a loss for words ?”
Another relative wrote, “My heart is broken I don’t know what to say my cousin Alyssa Alhadeff has died do to the horrific attack is Florida may god bless her family we love you.”
The South Florida United Youth Soccer Association memorialized Alyssa on Facebook, writing, “SFUYSA and Parkland Soccer Club sadly announce the loss of one of our own in the senseless tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our league, club and community. Alyssa will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event. Please see the following note from her family and help us honor Alyssa.”
The family message reads: “To Alyssa’s Friends honor Alyssa by doing something fabulous in your life. Don’t ever give up and inspire for greatness. Live for Alyssa! Be her voice and breathe for her. Alyssa loved you all forever!”
According to The Miami Herald, Martin Duque was a 14-year-old freshman who died in the shooting. His brother, Miguel, confirmed Martin’s death on Instagram, writing, “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!!! R.I.P Martin Duque! ?”
A GoFundMe page was set up to help pay for Martin’s funeral. “Martin Duque passed away on 02/14/18 at the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. He was a very funny kid, outgoing and sometimes really quiet,” it reads. “He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother. My family and I have no words to describe the event that’s has happened on this date, all my prayers to the lost ones. My family and I will appreciate anything that we can get helped with. R.I.P Martin Duque.”
Luke Hoyer’s relative confirmed his death on Facebook, remembering him as “a beautiful human being and greatly loved.” She said that he was found on the third floor of the school.
“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,” she wrote.
Another relative wrote, “Our whole family is devastated by this senseless shooting that our young Luke lost his precious life in the Florida school shooting yesterday. Our Luke was a precious child, who just went to school yesterday not knowing what was to come. We are all devasted and we now need all of your prayers for acceptance of this tragedy, understanding and healing our broken hearts.”
Hoyer’s grandmother said, “There wasn’t a mean bone in Like’s body. He loved sports, played travel basketball and was planning on trying out for football at the school.”
A school friend wrote of Carmen, “Rest easy Carmen Schentrup? I was in the same classroom as this beautiful soul, she was so bright and had her entire life ahead of her. She was someone we all praised for her intelligence. I will never forget what I saw, and I will never forget you. Sending love to your family.”
Scott Beigel was a geography teacher at the high school. “Geography teacher Scott Beigel opened the door to let Kelsey Friend and a group of fleeing students into his classroom. When Beigel attempted to re-lock the door, the gunman walked by and shot him dead,” reported The New York Daily News.
“He unlocked the door and let us in. I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t,” Friend told GMA. “When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so that we could stay safe but he didn’t get the chance.” You can watch her interview here:
Meadow Pollack’s family also confirmed that she died, according to The Palm Beach Post. Her family told the newspaper that they had frantically called her cell phone but it rang and rang.
A childhood friend wrote on Facebook, “Please say a prayer for the family of an amazing girl I got to call my bestfriend growing up Meadow Pollack … her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels. Rest In Peace my beautiful angel ?? you are and forever will be loved.”
El Impulsa reported that Oliver was among the victims. Oliver’s family had come to the United States from Venezuela in search of a better life, according to social media reports.
Oliver’s family posted his photo on social media in an effort to find him. He was a 12th grader at the Broward school.
“Mom, we did it! 14 years ago we moved to this wonderful country and 14 years later we are officially citizens of the United States of America. I have never been more proud,” Joaquin said in January 2017 when he got citizenship.
A family friend confirmed that Peter Wang was among the victims on Facebook, writing, “Unfortunately Peter Wang was one of the 17 victims of this horrible Massacre. I received news last night from my friend Jesse Pan who was with Peter’s family at the Marriott. This is such a sad day for everyone here in South Florida. My thoughts and prayers go out to Peter’s friends and family. May he rest in peace?”
Friends shared Peter’s photo when he was missing. Wrote one, “We are still looking for Peter Wang a freshman at Stoneman Douglass High School. Peter’s parents speak Mandarin Chinese & very little English. If anyone has any information please let me know.”
Heartbroken loved ones confirmed Cara Loughran’s death on social media. “I can’t begin to find the words to express how I feel in hearing that my friend has lost her daughter. The incomprehensible pain that she and her family are suffering right now breaks my heart,” wrote one woman on Facebook.
Helena’s cousin wrote on Facebook that Helena died on her father’s birthday. “Valentine’s Day will never look the same for my family. My sweet cousin Helena Ramsay was one of the many lives senselessly taken by the monster who shot up Stoneman Douglas high school yesterday,” she wrote.
“To all those sharing snap chat videos of people’s kids, siblings, cousins being shot at- PLEASE THINK TWICE, THREE TIMES, EVEN FOUR times before sharing. If you understood the pain that comes with a loss or heard the overwhelming screams and cries coming from parents and their families you would not share it at all. Helena, we miss you dearly and are so incredibly sorry that your life was cut short. You didn’t deserve this. We love you so much and will miss you greatly ?.”
Another cousin remembered Helena as “a genuine, beautiful, and smart human being who had so much potential and the brightest future.”
According to KOAT, “Alaina’s great-aunt, Claudette McMahon Joshi wrote on Facebook that the 14 year old was one of the victims.”
According to ABC News, Alex Schachter also died in the attack.