Who they were: The victims of the Parkland school shooting
Two were teachers who tried to save their students. There was a dancer, a talented swimmer and members of the marching band and color guard. Seventeen people were killed Wednesday in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in
Here are the names and stories of all 17 victims.
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
Lori Alhadeff, in an interview on CNN, screamed as she shared her anguish over the death of her daughter, Alyssa.
“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!” Alhadeff said.
She then turned her attention to President Trump, who on Thursday said: "To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain."
“President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands! Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools!” Alhadeff said.
She jabbed her finger into the air. “This is not fair to our families when our children go to school and have to get killed. I just spent the last two hours [making] the burial arrangements for my daughter’s funeral who’s 14! President Trump, please do something. Do something! Action! We need it now. These kids need safety now.”
Scott Beigel, 35
Scott Beigel was a dedicated camp counselor and teacher who was about to propose marriage, his girlfriend said by telephone Friday.
“It hadn’t happened yet,” Gwen Gossler, 32, said, breaking down into tears. “We had been talking about it, but he hadn’t gotten around to it.”
The pair had been dating for almost seven years. They met while working as counselors at Camp Starlight, a Jewish sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania, where Beigel had been a camper and started working at age 19.
“He just loved being able to make connections with the kids and chat with them and help them however he could,” Gossler said. “If they were having a hard time, he was always there to help.”
He also had a keen sense of humor, taking an ordinary situation and finding the comedy in it.
Every year at camp, Gossler said, Beigel would tell an elaborate story about how his freshman roommate in college wanted to become a clown. He would add detail upon detail, sometimes going on for 40 minutes — all just so he could deliver the punch line.
“All the campers looked forward to him telling it. … It was always a little different,” she said.
Beigel grew up on Long Island but attended the
This was his first year at Douglas. “He was still trying to find his feet,” learning the curriculum and getting to know students, Gossler said.
Beigel died while protecting those students. He unlocked a classroom door to let students back in, but didn’t have a chance to lock it again before being gunned down, Kelsey Friend, a freshman, told “Good Morning America.”
Gossler said Beigel had always put the needs of others ahead of his own. “He was a hero way before this happened,” she said.
On Wednesday morning, Beigel left the couple’s home before Gossler woke up, as usual. Later he sent her a text message that read, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
That was the last she heard from him.
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Martin’s brother Miguel posted on Instagram early Thursday: “Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place.” In a photo posted by his brother, Martin is on the right in a black T-shirt and hat.
Martin, a Mexican citizen, was born in Santa Teresa, a small rural town in the state of Guerrero, according to the Mexican government. According to a
Nicholas Dworet, 17
Nicholas, a senior, was all set to attend the University of Indianapolis, where he had received an academic scholarship and committed to join the swim team, coach Jason Hite said by telephone Friday.
“He was just a good, strong, solid kid and with a good personality,” Hite said, describing Nicholas as “confident, but humble, real positive, energetic.”
Nicholas had made significant strides in the last year and a half, Hite said, drastically improving his grades and his swim times.
“His coach looked to him to be a good example for the younger crew,” Hite said. “I thought this is the kind of person that I would like to have.”
Nicholas planned to study physical therapy and would have joined a men’s swim team at the top of its game. The squad recently won its conference championship.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald reported Nicholas’ death on Twitter, citing his niece Alex, who shared her memories of Nicholas on Instagram.
“We walked into kindergarten together, so knowing that you won't be walking across the stage at graduation with me in a few months is devastating and heartbreaking,” Alex Greenwald wrote.
Luke Hoyer, 15
A freshman and avid basketball player, Luke loved his family and loved sports. “He could be quiet, but he had a big heart,” said his first cousin Grant Cox, 21. “It was just fun to be around him.”
Luke was particularly good at shooting the ball and idolized Le Bron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
“Anytime we got bored and wanted to throw or shoot, he’d be the person to go to,” Cox said.
Cox, who lives in Greenville, S.C., said Friday that he last saw his cousin when Luke’s family came to visit at Christmas, as they typically do. They went bowling and shared big meals at home.
Luke, who has an older sister and brother, “was always trying to hang out with the older kids,” Cox said, but he wasn’t the type to pick fights with them. “He kind of looked up to all of us,” Cox said.
Aaron Feis, 37
Football coach Aaron Feis jumped in front of students to shield them from bullets. He later died from his injuries, the school’s football team announced via Twitter early Thursday.
“He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” the tweet said.
In addition to serving as an assistant coach, Feis also worked as a security guard at the school.
Feis was married and had a daughter, according to his biography on the Douglas football website. He attended and played football at the school, graduating in 1999 and returning in 2002 as a coach, where he spent his entire career.
His Facebook profile photo, posted in May of 2012, shows him holding his daughter, who had recently turned 3 and was wearing a pink bow in her hair and a pink, frilly skirt. Responding to comments about the photo, Feis had written, “I’m blessed.”
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Fred Guttenberg posted on his Facebook page, asking for anyone who had spoken to his daughter to contact him.
“For those of you wondering, I have Jesse and he is OK. We cannot reach Jaime,” he wrote.
On Thursday morning, Guttenberg wrote on Facebook:
“My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer
Photos of Jaime on her parents’ Facebook accounts show a smiling girl with wavy brown hair and braces. Her own profile shows group photos of what look like dance team outings, with girls in matching outfits posing atop waterfalls and in front of picnic tables.
Danielle Vullis, a teacher at the Dance Theatre dance studio in Parkland, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night: “We lost one of our BEAUTIFUL dancers in this shooting today. Jaime you were unlike any other ... you made yourself well known wherever you were, you were funny, spunky, HILARIOUS.. and always brightened everyone’s day.”
On Thursday night, Guttenberg spoke to thousands of students, parents and community members who gathered with candles to remember the victims.
“She was supposed to be safe,” he said, his voice cracking. "My job is to protect my children, and I sent my kid to school. … What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead. I don’t know what I do next. My wife is home. We are broken.”
Christopher Hixon, 49
The Douglas High athletic director and wrestling coach was “the kind of person who would do anything for anyone,” fellow wrestling coach Allen Held told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Dan Jacob, athletic director at neighboring
Before becoming athletic director at Douglas, Hixon had led the athletics department at
On a GoFundMe page set up for the Hixons, former South Broward student Veronica Sitaras wrote: “I’m trying to do what I can for a family that did so much for me as an athlete and student. 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!”
Cara Loughran, 14
Cara Loughran, a freshman, was killed in the shooting, but her 17-year-old brother, Liam, escaped.
“It is with a heavy heart and much regret that I write these words,” Loretta Brockmeier, a neighbor of the family, wrote on Facebook. “Our next-door neighbor’s daughter was one of the lives taken too soon by a senseless act of violence at Stoneman Douglas High School. RIP Cara, and fly with the angels. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life.”
Janine Tomeo, a friend of the Loughrans’ mother, wrote on Facebook: “The incomprehensible pain that she and her family are suffering right now breaks my heart. I ask you all to please lift up her and her family in prayer along with the other victims and their families. This all seems so senseless. I just can’t imagine what anger this person had to make him do this.”
Gina Montalto, 14
Jorge Portal said he had coached Gina Montalto on the color guard for several years, since middle school.
"She was quiet during practice, but the second we stopped, she was bubbly," Portal said.
Gina helped recruit a friend to the 40-member squad that won the state championship this year.
The band's theme was “Peace by Piece,” said Franci Gargaro, president of the Marching Eagle Parent Assn., who also described Gina as “sweet” and “giving.”
At a candlelight vigil Thursday night, many students wore T-shirts emblazoned with the band’s motto.
Joaquin Oliver, 17
On Wednesday afternoon, his sister posted on Facebook that she wasn’t able to find Joaquin. Early Thursday, his mother confirmed to Univision that he was among those killed. Joaquin immigrated to the United States with his family from Venezuela when he was a toddler.
Zac Williams, 18, a senior at Douglas, said he had known Joaquin, whose friends called him “Guac,” since preschool.
"He was always such a positive person. He always knew how to make us smile," Zac said as he walked to a memorial in a Parkland park Thursday evening. He said Joaquin loved singer
Joaquin’s last post on his Instagram account, from Dec. 31, was dedicated to his girlfriend: “Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life the past year. I love you with all my heart.”
Alaina Petty, 14
At just 14, Alaina was already dedicated to community service. She participated in the Army’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and volunteered in the cleanup after Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of Florida last year.
“Her selfless service brought peace and joy to those that had lost everything during the storm,” her family said in a statement. “While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective.”
Alaina also was active in the Mormon Church’s Helping Hands community service program.
“We are heartbroken by the loss we feel,” the family said.
Meadow Pollack, 18
Meadow was looking forward to attending Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
Her parents, Shara Kaplan and Andrew Pollack, called her cellphone over and over on Wednesday in the hours before discovering she’d been shot to death, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Posted on her Facebook page were photos of a white Kia with a big red ribbon on the windshield. In the caption, Meadow called it the “best present ever.”
“Please say a prayer for the family of an amazing girl I got to call my best friend growing up, Meadow Pollack. ... Her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels,” Meadow’s friend Gii Lovito wrote on Facebook. “Rest In Peace my beautiful angel.”
Helena Ramsay, 17
Last month, Helena, a junior, celebrated her 17th birthday by going to an “escape room” with a group of friends. They managed to solve the clues and get out with 30 seconds to spare, her close friend Isabela Barry, 16, said.
"She liked just being a teenager," said Isabela, who had known Helena since their freshman year. The two liked to exchange jokes and funny videos, and they shared a love of K-pop music. For Helena’s 16th birthday, they went to a concert of the group Got7 in
Isabela bought a T-shirt but told her friend she had second thoughts about wearing it in public. “She was like, ‘Why care?’ She didn’t care about other people's opinion,” Isabela said.
“She was the friend that you just need in your life,” Isabela added. “The friend that you can talk to, that’ll support you. The friend that’ll send you the homework when you forgot about it, the friend that’ll remind you when you have the Algebra II test tomorrow.”
Just a week before the shooting, Isabela submitted a class essay arguing for stricter gun control and angrily asked why more wasn’t being done to control weapons. “I’m 16. I shouldn’t have to say goodbye to one of my friends. I shouldn’t have to be scared to go to school,” she said. “It’s so unfair. She didn’t deserve that.”
Isabela, who hid in a closet during the shooting, said she later heard from friends that Helena died shielding another student from bullets. “She was just such a good person,” Isabela said. “I wasn’t surprised that she would protect her friend.”
Alexander Schachter, 14
Rabbi Bradd Boxman of the Jewish congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland, where Alexander’s parents were members, confirmed the 14-year-old’s death via telephone.
Alexander was a “talented musician” who played trombone and baritone horn in the marching band and also loved playing basketball, said Gargaro of the Marching Eagle Parent Assn.
Gargaro described Alexander as one of “the sweetest, most giving kids — full of energy."
Carmen Schentrup, 16
Carmen was one of the high school’s 10 semifinalists for the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.
A cousin, Matt Brandow, posted on Facebook: “With a very heavy heart, my beloved cousin Carmen just passed away in the Parkland High School shooting today. I’m in a daze right now. I feel a million emotions. Smh. Please pray for her and our family. I’m in disbelief right now. #RIPCarmen.”
Peter Wang, 15
A freshman and member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Wang had dreams of becoming a world-renowned chef, family friend Chino Leong said on a GoFundMe page he created in his memory.
“Peter was a happy and caring person, genuine traits that he picked up taking care of his two younger brothers,” Leong wrote. “He always made it a habit to cheer people up when they were down, and went out of his way to help people.”
Peter was last seen Wednesday wearing his gray J.R.O.T.C. shirt, his 24-year-old cousin Lin Chen told the Sun-Sentinel.
Chen said a friend of Peter’s told her he had held the door open for other students to get out when the shooting happened. “He is so brave,” she told the newspaper. “He is like the big brother everyone wished they had.”
Chen said Peter was getting ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his parents, who own a restaurant in West Palm Beach.
“I feel the family can never be the same,” she said.
Agrawal reported from New York, Finnegan from Los Angeles and Hennessy-Fiske from Parkland, Fla. Special correspondent Jenny Jarvie contributed from Parkland, Fla., and Times staff writer Kate Linthicum contributed from Mexico City.
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