We remember the 17 people who lost their lives during the Parkland massacre
One year on from the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the wound still feels fresh both to the friends and families of the victims and to the US as a whole.
A total of fourteen students and three teachers were killed. In many cases, those who lost their lives did so while saving others. Below are each of the 17 victims, who today are remembered and mourned for by their loved ones.
Carmen Schentrup, 16, was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist. "Marjory Stoneman Douglas had 10 students qualify as semifinalists for 2018, which is the second year in a row 10 students have qualified," the Eagle Eye student blog stated. "Rest In Peace Carmen Schentrup," read a tweet by @pranatiishahone the day after her death. "Your family is forever in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry."
Eighteen-year-old Meadow Pollack was planning to go to college and had been offered a place at Lynn University in Boca Raton. She was remembered in an online guestbook kept by Star of David Memorial Gardens. "Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful daughter, Meadow. May she rest in peace. Your family is in my continued prayers," said Alisa Thomas of Youngstown, Ohio. "Please say a prayer for the family of an amazing girl I got to call my best friend growing up Meadow Pollack," friend GII Lovito said on Facebook. "Her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels. Rest In Peace my beautiful angel."
Alex Schachter, 14, played baritone in the school marching band and trombone in the orchestra, the Sun-Sentinel reported. "I felt he really had a bright future on the trombone," explained Alexander Kaminsky, director of bands at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "In an effort to continue his memory, this scholarship is being created to help other students experience the joys of music as well as fund increased security at schools. Please help keep Alex's spirit alive," reads a GoFundMe page set up by Alex's parents. "The money raised will be sent to the Stoneman Douglas Marching Eagles."
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, played for Parkland Travel Soccer. Alyssa's mother, Lori Alhadeff, told HLN she dropped her daughter off at school on the day of the shooting and said "I love you". By the time she made it back to the school, Alyssa had succumbed to her injuries. "I knew at that point she was gone. I felt it in my heart," she said. "Alyssa was a beautiful, smart, talented, successful, awesome, amazing soccer player. You'll be greatly missed, Alyssa. We love you so much. You'll always, always be in our hearts."
Scott Beigel, 35, was a geography teacher who lost his life as he attempted to secure students in his classroom. "Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom," said his former student Kelsey Friend. "I am alive today because of him." The 35-year-old was also a counsellor at Camp Starlight in Pennsylvania.
Jaime Guttenberg 14, was remembered by her school, her friends and her family.
"My heart is broken," wrote her father on Facebook. "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." He added: "Hold your children tight."
Peter Wang, 15, was a member of the junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He was holding a door open to help other students escape when he was shot. A White House petition asking for him to be buried with military honours gained thousands of signatures. "His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area," the petition stated.
Chris Hixon, 49, was the school wrestling coach. He was known for giving rides or lunch money to students who needed it. He had an open-door policy both in and outside of the school. "Every one of those students he thought of as his own kid," his widow Debra explained. Hixon was also a naval reservist and served in Iraq in 2007.
Fifteen-year-old Luke Hoyer was "a good kid" who "never got in trouble", according to his grandmother Janice Stroud. "The day went by and we didn't hear anything about Luke. We kept hoping they would find him wandering around in shock," she explained. "By 7 o'clock, I said, 'I don't like this. This is not good,'" her husband Eddie said. "Finally, (police) called us at 1 a.m. and said Luke was among the students that had been killed." Relative Mary Beth Stroud-Gibbs posted on Facebook: "Our Luke was a precious child."
Gina Montalto, 14, was a member of the school's marching band."Unfortunately, one of the victims in yesterday's St. Valentine's Day Massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was a member of the school's winter guard," stated The Winter Guard International. "No student should ever go to school afraid." Her aunt, Shawn Sherlock, wrote on Facebook: "I know somewhere in the heavens she's designing the latest and greatest trends and has her art book she always carried with her as well."
Martin Duque Anguiano
Martin Duque Anguiano was 14 when he died."He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother," his brother Miguel said on the GoFundMe page which was set up to cover his funeral expenses. "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."
Nicholas Dworet was a 17-year-old student who was to join the University of Indianapolis. A celebrated swimmer, he was remembered by the college which had hoped to count him amongst its freshman intake. "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," said Robert L Manuel, University of Indianapolis president. "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."
Assistant football coach Aaron Feis died when the 37-year-old put himself between students and a spray of bullets. "He died the same way he lived - he put himself second," said football programme spokesperson Denis Lehtio. "He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero." Chad Lyons was a student and football player who said Feis helped him when he was going through leukaemia treatments: "He guided me through them. He would send me prayers. He would send me Bible scripts and just stuff to cheer up my day. Funny memes." He added: "He was just an amazing person to be led on and taught by, and I'm thankful enough to even be in his presence, just going through high school."
Cara Loughran, 14, danced with the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida.
"Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face," the dance studio said in a statement. "We are heartbroken as we send our love and support to her family during this horrible time." Friends, family and neighbours posted tributes online. "It is with a heavy heart and much regret that I write these words. 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," stated Danny Vogel on Facebook. "RIP Cara, and fly with the angels. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life."
Originally from Venezuela, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver moved to the US when he was three. Known as Guac, he was a keen football and basketball player. With a graffiti artist as a father, he also had interests in street art and hip hop. His last ever Instagram post was a message to his girlfriend. "Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year," he said. "I love you with all my heart."
Also a member of the junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Alaina Petty had volunteered in the cleanup following Hurricane Irma. She was involved with the Church of Latter-day Saints' Helping Hands programme. "Alaina loved to serve," her family said of the 14-year-old. "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."
Helena Ramsay was 17 when she died. "My family lost an absolutely beautiful member today, due to a senseless school shooting," Curtis Page Jr said in a Facebook post. "Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I'm still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone."
Since the tragic events of 14 February, 2018, nearly 1,200 children have been shot in the US. This is according to data collected by nonprofit gun violence newsroom The Trace. Meanwhile, according to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 1,654 gun-related deaths (excluding suicides) and 37 mass shootings (with four or more people shot, excluding the shooter) in the US this year alone. Sadly, by the time this article is published, those figures may have increased.
The perpetrator of the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz, was indicted by a grand jury on 34 charges on 7 March last year. They were 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder. However, the legal proceedings have only just begun and there are still questions surrounding whether Cruz will receive the death penalty.
Regardless, a day which celebrates love will forever be blighted by this act of hate. However, the day itself may be more relevant than people think as a dangerous community of lonely men have claimed Cruz as one of their own.