Remembering the victims: 17 people died in Valentine’s Day shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School five years ago
PARKLAND, Florida — On Tuesday, it will have been five years since a gunman killed 14 students and three teachers at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
It was a terrible day that hurt a lot of families and shocked a lot of people in the state and across the country.
The 17 people who died will always be remembered by the charity work that their families and classmates have done, which has often been focused on protecting students and making gun laws stricter.
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
She was a soccer player and among the youngest shooting victims.
The Parkland Soccer Club wrote on its Facebook page soon after the tragedy that Alhadeff was a “loved and well-respected member of our club and community.”
After the shooting, her old team wore red jerseys and came together.
In honor of Alyssa, her parents, Ilan and Lori Alhadeff, started a foundation called Make Our Schools Safe. It works to get “Alyssa’s Law” passed in state legislatures. This law says that teachers must have panic buttons that go straight to law enforcement.
Scott Beigel, 35
People remember that the cross-country coach and geography teacher held open a door so that students could hide from the gunfire.
Kelsey Friend, a student, told ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “If the shooter had come into the room, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you right now.”
Beigel was killed by a bullet as he tried to shut the door.
Beigel’s parents set up the Scott J. Beigel Memorial Fund to help poor kids who have been affected by gun violence go to sleep-away camp.
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Anguiano was born in Mexico. He wanted to join the U.S. Navy Seals and was in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at his school. He went to church every Sunday and loved sports.
In a statement that was read at the shooter’s trial, his family said, “He was a smart kid who always put others before himself.” “‘Star Wars’ was his favorite movie.” He had a very old spirit. His family loved him no matter what, and he told his parents that when he grew up, he would buy them a house. We really miss him.”
Nicholas Dworet, 17
The swim team at the University of Indianapolis was ready for Dworet to join. Coach Jason Hite said that he was a student who worked hard.
Hite said, “He really felt like the team was his family, and he was really excited about what we’re doing up here.”
The 17-year-old told the younger swimmers at his club to keep going the night before he died. Mitch and Annika Dworet started the Nicholas Dworet Memorial Fund to help people learn how to swim and stay safe around water.
Aaron Feis, 37
Many students look up to Feis as a hero.
Feis had mostly worked with the junior varsity football team at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he graduated in 1999.
He was killed by a bullet as he tried to protect students.
Melissa Feis, the shooter’s widow, said in a statement read at his trial that they met when she was 16 at a church service and that he “knew he could make a difference in the lives of others” over the next 20 years.
“Aaron was good at making people feel at ease. “People wanted to be around him because of his presence, smile, and sense of humor,” she wrote.
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
She was in the ninth grade and loved to dance. She wanted to be a mother and an occupational therapist.
Aunt Abbie Youkilis said in a written statement, “She always stood up for the underdog and the bullied, and she probably was nice to the (former) student who shot her.”
Chris Hixon is 49 years old.
Chris Hixon, who was the athletic director and the wrestling coach, died as a hero because he was the first person to try to stop the shooter.
The Miami Herald says that Hixon was in the Navy during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the Persian Gulf.
A friend, Dan Jacob, told the Herald, “It’s a shame that he fought in Iraq and then died in his own country.”
In his honor, his family set up the Chris Hixon Foundation, which gives five Broward County athletes each year scholarships.
Luke Hoyer, 15
Hoyer is a good, loving kid who just likes to have fun.
Aunt Joan Cox said that he loved basketball and always had a smile on his face. She said that his parents looked for him at several hospitals before they got to the police command center, where they found out the news.
Luke was known for his dry sense of humor, and people used to joke that he was “the king of the one-word answer.”
“I’ve always liked sports as a way to teach kids little lessons about life “Tom Hoyer said. “Since Luke played sports and his mother knew that these kids couldn’t join these programs, it seemed like a good idea and the right thing to do.”
Cara Loughran is 14 years old.
Loughran loved the beach and her cousins, according to her family. She was also an Irish dancer, and the month after she died, she was supposed to perform at a St. Patrick’s Day festival.
A family friend read a statement at the trial of the shooter that said, “She loved the beach, she loved to surf, and most of all, she loved spending time with her family.” “Cara’s death has left a huge hole in their lives.”
Gina Montalto, 14
She was a Girl Scout and a bright person who was always reading, studying, and drawing.
Montalto was part of the school’s winter color guard squad. Her middle school teacher told her parents that she was “the kindest soul ever.”
Her family said that she wanted to either be a vet or make attractions for Walt Disney World.
Joaquin Oliver, 17
His friends call him “Guac,” which is short for “guacamole,” because many people had trouble with his real name. People liked him because he could write and make friends.
The shooting happened on Valentine’s Day. Oliver’s friend said, “When I saw Oliver with his girlfriend, I thought, ‘Oh my God, you two are so cute.'”
The year before, Oliver played soccer and ran for homecoming prince.
His parents started a foundation to try to stop the National Rifle Association and gun companies from having too much power in politics.
Alaina Petty, 14
After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Petty was one of the first people to help people who were in trouble. She helped out a lot at her church and joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at her school.
The statement from her family said, “Her selfless service brought peace and joy to those who had lost everything in the storm.” “It’s important to sum up who Alaina was and what she meant to her family and friends.
“Alaina was a young woman who was full of life and strong, and everyone who knew her loved her.”
The WalkUp Foundation, which was started by her parents, has worked with the government, law enforcement, and school officials to improve communication so that potential shooters can be found and stopped.
Meadow Pollack, 18
Pollack was the youngest of the three children in his family.
Jake Maisner, her cousin, told the Sun-Sentinel, “She was a beautiful girl on the inside and out.”
Pollack was also a good student, and after high school he planned to go to Lynn University in Boca Raton.
She wanted to be a lawyer and was known for being outgoing and loving to exercise.
Helena Ramsay, 17
One of Ramsay’s cousins said that he had “the best future.” She had a soft voice but was smart and determined. She kept her mind on her schoolwork.
“Even though she was quiet, she worked hard at school, and her soft, warm personality brought out the best in everyone she knew,” a relative named Curtis Page Jr. wrote on Facebook.
The next year, Ramsay would have gone to college.
Alexander Schachter, 14
Schachter started playing the trombone and baritone in middle school, and from then on, he only got better.
Alexander Kaminsky, who is in charge of the band, told the Sun Sentinel, “I was impressed and inspired by his growth.” “I thought he was going to do great things with the trombone,”
His family said he was a “nice little boy.” He was going to go to the University of Connecticut and loved cars.
His family started Safe Schools for Alex and went all over the country to learn the best ways to keep schools safe. They then shared what they learned with school districts, police, and government officials.
Carmen Schentrup, 16
She was a student and a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship. She wanted to become a doctor and study Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Schentrup wanted to go to school at the University of Washington, according to her cousin. “Sweating in the humid Florida weather” was something she hated.
The Carmen Schentrup ALS Research Fund, also called “Carmen’s Dream,” was set up by her family “by means of the ALS Foundation.
Peter Wang, 15
He was in ROTC, and his dream was to go to the US Military Academy and become a pilot.
A cousin said that Wang died with his ROTC shirt on. CBS News says that he was holding a door open so that other people could escape the shooting. His family wasn’t surprised to hear that he was seen helping people get out of the building.
Lin Chen’s cousin said, “He is so brave.” “He is the kind of person who treats everyone well.”
The family has set up the Peter Wang Foundation, which gives scholarships to needy Chinese-American students in the area and gives money to organizations that Peter supported.