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Florida school shooting victims mourned, remembered

Students and parents arrive for a vigil at the Pines Trail Center, Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla., for victims of the Parkland school shooting

 

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday claimed 17 lives. Many of the victims’ friends and relatives have taken to social media to remember and pay homage to their loved ones.

JAIME GUTTENBERG

Jaime Guttenberg

Jaime Guttenberg was a student at the school. Her father, Fred, a real estate agent in Parkland, posted a message about her and their family 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 gets 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.”

Her Facebook page has been memorialized and it features photos of her with friends, dancing in a performance, smiling at the beach and posing along one of the murals in Miami’s Wynwood district. One photo posted in February 2017 reads “Forever Young.”

Michelle McGrath Gerlick, of Dance Theatre studio in Coconut Creek, also shared her condolences by writing: “Dance in Heaven beautiful girl.”

Read more on Jaime Guttenberg here.

CARA LOUGHRAN

A neighbor of Cara Loughran shared a post on Facebook that she was one of the victims.

“It is with a heavy heart and much regret that I write these words,” wrote Danny Vogel in the message. “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.”

Read more on Cara Loughran here.

 

 

 

CHRIS HIXON

File photo of Chris Hixon. (Susan Stocker / Sun Sentinel)

Marjory Stoneman Douglas athletic director and wrestling coach Chris Hixon, 49, was among those shot and killed on Wednesday at the Parkland high school.

Douglas football coach Willis May said Hixon was confirmed dead Thursday morning “a little after” assistant football coach Aaron Feis died around midnight. Fellow athletic directors across Broward County had many strong feelings about Hixon and his death.

“Chris is such a great guy,” said Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob, who is also the school’s wrestling coach, like Hixon was for Douglas. “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. I am crushed. … I am totally crushed.”

Read more on Chris Hixon here.

AARON FEIS

Aaron Feis, in his capacity as a school security guard, responded to the original call on the school’s security radio walkie-talkies. Someone asked on the radio if the loud sounds heard were firecrackers, according to Douglas football coach Willis May.

“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.

Social media accounts have called Feis a hero, saying he was shot while helping a student. May said he heard directly from a student that Feis jumped between her and the shooter, to push her out through a door and out of the line of fire.

“It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the Douglas football team’s Twitter account posted early Thursday morning. “He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

Read more on Aaron Feis here.

ALYSSA ALHADEFF

Alyssa Alhadeff with David Robinovitz (Facebook / Courtesy)

Alyssa Alhadeff was a 14-year-old Douglas High School student and a skilled soccer player who was a member of Parkland Travel Soccer.

Her mother, Lori Alhadeff, remembered her in a Facebook post: “My Daughter Alyssa was killed today by a horrific act of violence. I just sent her to school and she was shot and killed. Alyssa was a talented soccer player, so smart, an amazing personality, incredible creative writer, and all she had to offer the world was love. She believed in people for being so honest. A knife is stabbed in my heart. I wish I could [have] taken those bullets for you. I will always love you and your memory will live on forever. Please kiss your children, tell them you love them, stand by them no matter what they want to be. 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!”

Parkland Travel Soccer asked its players and parents to honor Alyssa by wearing red uniform tops to a 6 p.m. Thursday gathering at Pine Trails Park.

“Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our 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,” the club wrote on its Facebook page.

On Thursday morning, Camp Coleman, a camp in Georgia run by the Union for Reform Judaism, also announced Ayssa’s passing: “It is with a heavy heart that we share with you the very sad news that our camper Alyssa Alhadeff (Kesher 2017) was a victim in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. … On behalf of the entire Coleman community, we offer heartfelt condolences and prayers for comfort to Alyssa’s family and friends. May Alyssa’s memory forever be for a blessing.”

The camp scheduled a Virtual Healing Service on Facebook Live for 8 p.m. Thursday. Alhadeff is being buried at 10 a.m. Friday at Star of David in North Lauderdale, according to Rabbi Shuey Biston, of Chabad of Parkland.

Read more on Alyssa Alhadeff here.

SCOTT BEIGEL

(From Twitter)

Scott Beigel was a geography teacher and the school’s cross country coach.

During the shooting, he unlocked his classroom and let in a group of students to hide from the shooter. He was killed as he tried to lock the door. Stoneman Douglas student Kelsey Friend told CNN that Beigel saved her life.

“He was my hero and he will forever be my hero,” Friend said. “I’ll never forget the actions he took for me.”

In addition to his teaching and coaching duties as the school, Beigel also worked as a counselor at Starlight summer camp in Pennsylvania.

Read more on Scott Beigel here.

GINA MONTALTO

(Courtesy)

Gina Montalto, a 14-year-old member of the winter guard on the school’s state-champion marching band, “will be missed by our family for all eternity” her mother, Jennifer, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

“Our beautiful daughter, Gina Rose, was taken from us during the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” she wrote. “She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered.”

Manuel Miranda, an instructor for the winter guard, the band’s synchronized team of flag-bearers and dancers, remembered Gina in a post Wednesday night: “My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel.”

The Douglas High School winter guard squad was scheduled to perform at the prestigious Winter Guard International regional competition in Tampa on Saturday. The WGI organization paid its respect via Facebook: “Our hearts go out to the Stoneman Douglas family during this tragedy. You are in our thoughts.”

Read more on Gina Montalto here.

NICHOLAS DWORET

(Courtesy)

Nicholas Dworet was a senior at Douglas and second-team, All-County swimmer in Broward County for his time in the 100-yard freestyle.

Dworet signed last week to continue swimming collegiately at the University of Indianapolis. He finished fifth in the 100 free (46.53 seconds) at the Class 4A state swimming and diving championships last fall, qualified for that meet in the 50 free, and was part of the Eagles’ 200 free relay team that also reached the state event.

At the 2017 BCAA swimming and diving championships, Dworet finished first in the county in both the 50 free and 100 free. Dworet also played water polo for Douglas.

On CNN, Stoneman Douglas student Connor Dietrich talked about friends who had died, including a swimmer named Nick. He spoke of him fondly and said, “He didn’t deserve this.”

Read more on Nicholas Dworet here.

PETER WANG

Peter Wang, 15, was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where he was a member of the ROTC program.

“He is so funny, caring and selfless,’’ said Lin Chen, Wang’s 24-year-old cousin.

She said that Wang was wearing his gray ROTC shirt on Wednesday at the school when the shooting happened. She said a friend of his told her Wang was holding a door to let other students out before him.

She said she wasn’t surprised to hear that.

“He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone. He doesn’t care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is the like big brother everyone wished they had,’’ added Chen.

She said Wang had two younger brothers, ages 11 and 5. His parents, who were too upset to talk, own a restaurant in West Palm Beach.

Chen said the family had planned to celebrate Chinese New Year’s eve on Thursday.

“I feel the family can never be the same,’’ said Chen.

Jesse Pan, a Parkland real estate agent who said he isa neighbor of the 15-year-old boy’s family, also shared news of the loss in a Facebook post.

Under a message that read “Rest In Peace Peter!”, Pan posted photos of the teen at Disney World and dressed in an ROTC uniform while standing in front of an American flag.

Read more on Peter Wang here.

MARTIN DUQUE

Martin Duque was a 14-year-old freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who died in Wednesday’s shooting.

His older brother Miguel, a Douglas graduate, expressed his sorrow Thursday morning on Instagram with a picture of his brother and a message: “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!”

The post drew hundreds of comments of encouragement from across the country, many from complete strangers.

Miguel later created a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses that generated nearly half of its $10,000 goal in the first 12 hours.

In describing his brother on the donation page, Miguel wrote: “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. 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.”

Read more on Martin Duque here.

LUKE HOYER

Luke Hoyer was killed during the Florida school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, 2018.

Luke Hoyer, 15, was confirmed dead Thursday by his grandparents Eddie and Janice Stroud, who told WYFF News 4 in Simpsonville, S.C.

They were notified by family members that Hoyer was a victim in the Florida school shooting in Parkland.

He was their youngest grandson. “He was a good kid. He never got into trouble,” his grandmother told News 4.

His uncle, Toni Brownlee, posted on Facebook: “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.”

Read more on Luke Hoyer here.

 

 

CARMEN SCHENTRUP

Carmen Marie Schentrup was killed during the Florida school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, 2018.

Carmen Schentrup, 16, was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist before becoming a victim of the Florida school shooting in Parkland on Wednesday.

She was one of 10 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas to qualify as semifinalists for 2018, which is the second year in a row 10 students have qualified, according to a post on The Eagle Eye, a student blog.

Schentrup had been missing after Wednesday’s shooting. Her friend, Sarah Imam, posted her photo and a plea on Facebook on Wednesday asking for information from anyone who might know where she was.

“She was a victim of the shooting and has not been found,” she wrote.

But on Thursday, she was confirmed by authorities as one of the students who had died.

Read more on Carmen Schentrup here.

 

MEADOW POLLACK

Meadow Pollack, 18, was confirmed dead Thursday by her family, following the Florida school shooting in Parkland.

“Everyone should know how great she was,” said Jake Maisner, her cousin who attends Florida State University. “She was a beautiful girl, inside and out.”

Maisner said Meadow was the youngest of the family, both immediate and of 10 grandchildren. She is survived by her parents, Andrew Pollack and Shara Kaplan, her brothers Huck, 22, and Hunter, 29, and grandmother Evelyn Pollack, all of Parkland.

“She was the baby of the family. Everyone wanted to protect her,” he said.

Read more on Meadow Pollack here.

ALEX SCHACHTER

(Daniel Journey / Courtesy)

Alex Schachter was a freshman trombone and baritone player who was on the rise in the school’s marching band and orchestra, said Alexander Kaminsky, director of bands at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Schachter started playing in the sixth grade at Westglades Middle School and was in his second semester in the high school marching band, which is physically demanding. He played baritone in the band and trombone in the orchestra.

“Actually, he was fairly quiet” and not outgoing, Kaminsky said. But he worked hard to establish himself as someone who belonged in the band, which is comprised of about 100 students.

“The improvement I witnessed from him was admirable and inspiring,” Kaminsky said. “I felt he really had a bright future on the trombone.”

His mother died at an early age. An older brother who also attends Stoneman Douglas survived the attack.

The boy’s father, Max, frequently visited the school, helping out, Kaminsky recalled. “I know this was devastating for him.”

Read more on Alex Schachter here.

JOAQUIN OLIVER

JOAQUIN OLIVER

Joaquin Oliver became a naturalized American citizen in January 2017. Born in Venezuela, he moved to the United States with his family at age 3 after strongman Hugo Chavez deflected a coup attempt.

Among friends at Stoneman Douglas, he was known as “Guac,” a moniker that appeared on his Instagram account. His interests: football, basketball, the Venezuelan national soccer team, urban graffiti and hip-hop.

 

His final social media post was dedicated to his girlfriend, Victoria Gonzalez. “Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year,” he wrote. “I love you with all my heart.”

Read more on Joaquin Oliver here.

HELENA RAMSAY

Helena Ramsey was killed during the Florida school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, 2018.

“My family lost an absolutely beautiful member today,” Curtis Page Jr. posted on Facebook about Helena Ramsay, who was 17 when she died.

 

“Helena was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person,” he wrote. “She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was somewhat 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 brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone. She would have started college next year.”

 

Read more on Helena Ramsay here.

ALAINA PETTY

Alaina Petty was killed during the Florida school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, 2018.

Alaina Petty was 14 years old when she died, and was among a dozen Latter-day Saints who were at Stoneman Douglas High School when the attack occurred, according to the publication LDSLiving.

She devoted countless hours of service to the community, according to a family statement, which called Alaina “a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her.”

“Alaina loved to serve,” the statement said. “She served her community through her participation in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas JROTC program and her countless hours of service as a volunteer for the ‘Helping Hands’ program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Alaina was part of hundreds of volunteers that rushed to the most heavily impacted areas of Florida to clean up and help rebuild the lives of those devastated by Hurricane Irma.

“Her selfless service brought peace and joy to those that had lost everything during the storm. 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. We are grateful for the knowledge that Alaina is a part of our eternal family and that we will reunite with her. This knowledge and unabiding faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan gives us comfort during this difficult time.”

On a Facebook post, a great aunt, Claudette McMahon Joshi, said: “There are no hashtags for moments like this, only sadness. Our hearts are with them and all the families touched by this tragedy.”

Read more on Alaina Petty here.

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  • August 14, 2018, 2:02 pm
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