Florida shooting: Football coach, athletic director and students among named victims

Family and friends take to social media to post tributes to the dead

Samuel Osborne,Emily Shugerman
Thursday 15 February 2018 19:52
Florida shooting: Police audio reveals the dramatic moments police try to locate gunman

Details have emerged of some of the 17 people killed in a shooting at a Florida high school – one of the deadliest in US history.

Of those, 15 died inside or nearby the school, while two died in hospital. At least 18 others were injured, some critically.

Police have now named all of the victims, and family and friends have taken to social media to post tributes to the dead.

Aaron Feis

Aaron Feis ‘died a hero’ in the Florida shooting

The first victim of the attack was publicly identified as Aaron Feis, who “died a hero” after using his body to shield a student.

Mr Feis, an assistant coach on the school’s football team and a school security guard, was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries.

“It is with great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the school’s football team said in a statement on Twitter.

“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.”

Mr Feis, a former student at the school, responded to a call about the shooting on the school’s security radio, Willis May, the team’s head coach, told the Sun-Sentinel. He said someone had reported loud bangs and asked if they were firecrackers.

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

Jaime Guttenberg

Jamie Guttenberg’s father says his ‘heart is broken’

Jaime Guttenberg was confirmed to be among the dead after her parents issued an appeal on social media to try to locate her and her brother.

Her brother, Jesse, returned home safely.

“My heart is broken,” her father, Fred, wrote on Facebook. ”Yesterday, Jennifer 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.”

He asked for privacy, adding: “Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”

Ms Guttenberg’s Facebook page has since been turned into a memorial.

Gina Montalto

Gina Montalto volunteered with The Friendship Initiative

Both Gina Montalto and Jamie Guttenberg were part of The Friendship Initiative, and the group’s founder confirmed Gina’s death in a Facebook post.

“This is Jaime Guttenberg and Gina Montalto. Both these young girls gave their hearts and love as volunteers with The Friendship Initiative.

“They were the light and the joy for all of us. Our hearts are shattered because both Jaime and Gina were killed yesterday in the attack at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School,” Jeb Niewood, the group’s founder and president, said.

“Jaime and Gina were our angels on earth. Though our hands tremble and our eyes are filled with tears we remember our angels, Jaime and Gina and will keep them eternally in our hearts.

“We pray for the Guttenberg and Montalto families as we pray for all the kids, their families, teachers and first responders who were victimized by yesterday’s senseless violence.”

Alyssa Alhadeff

The 14-year-old's death was confirmed by her cousin, Ariella Del Quaglio, on Facebook.

Many innocent souls were taken a few short hours ago. Among them we just got confirmation was my little cousin,” she wrote.

“My heart is broken not sure what i can even say I am at a loss for words.”

In a Facebook post, the football team she played for said: “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.

“To Alyssa’s Friends honour 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!”

Nicholas Dworet

Nicholas Dworet had just received a swimming scholarship for the University of Indianapolis (Social media/Handout via Reuters)

Nicholas Dworet, who had just received a swimming scholarship for the University of Indianapolis, was confirmed to have been killed in the attack by his aquatic team.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I/we have to announce that our family member, teammate, TS Aquatics swimmer Nick Dworet has passed away,” the team said on Facebook.

“He was an amazing person as well as a great swimmer. A happy young man who embodied the values of our programme. A young man who had changed his life recently and was on a major up swing in his life.

“Nick you have touched everyone on TS Aquatics in one way or another, whether it was your smile, your jokes or your very positive attitude.”

Martin Duque Anguiano

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, died overnight, his older brother Miguel wrote on Instagram.

“Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place.”

Luke Hoyer

Luke Hoyer loved his mom and macaroni and cheese

Luke Hoyer’s aunt, Joan Cox, confirmed the 15-year-old had been killed in an interview with People.

“It doesn’t feel real,” she told the magazine. “It really doesn’t.”

Ms Cox described her nephew as “laid back” and said he “always smiling”. She added that he loved basketball, McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, and macaroni and cheese. He also loved his mother, and was spending more time with her since his older siblings moved out of the house, Ms Cox said.

“He was momma’s boy and he loved his family so much,” she said. “They were very close.”

Another family member, Mary Beth Stroud-Gibbs, wrote on Facebook: ”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.”

Chris Hixon

Chris Hixon, the school’s athletic director and wrestling coach, died shortly after Mr Feis, the assistant football coach, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Broward County Superintendent Rober Runcie addressed their deaths together, saying: “Unfortunately those two heroes gave their lives for our kids and probably helped prevent this from being a worse tragedy than it is today.”

Mr Hixon served as athletic director at South Broward for 10 years before joining the Marjory Douglas staff. He was also deployed to Iraq as a US Naval Reservist in 2007.

After settling in at Marjory Douglas, Mr Hixon witnessed the school’s baseball team win a state and national championship in 2016. He was declared the BCAA Athletic Director of the Year last year.

“Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met,” Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob told the Sentinel. “He would give you the shirt off his back.”

He added: “I am crushed. … I am totally crushed.”

A GoFundMe page for Mr Hixon’s family has already raised more than $5,000 (£3,700).

Carmen Schentrup

Carmen Schentrup, a driven 16-year-old student, was confirmed dead by friends and family on Facebook.

One friend recalled listening to her play hymnals on piano at a music festival just four days before she was shot.

Her cousin, Matt Brandow, recalled her visiting him in Washington state, where she hoped to attend college. When he asked her whether she would mind the rainy weather in Seattle, she told him that she hated sweating in the Florida humidity.

“I love you with all my heart and I’m going to miss you every single living day,” he added. “I would switch places with you in a second.”

Ms Schentrup was a 2017 National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Scott Beigel

Scott Beigel, the school’s geography teacher and cross country coach was remembered as a “king” by students he coached.

“I have said RIP too many times in the past 24 hours but RIP coach Beagle. You are a king and heaven got a good one. rest easy... “ wrote one cross country runner on Twitter.

Other students recalled how Mr Beigel had saved their lives.

Student Kelsey Friend told ABC’s Good Morning America that the teacher had unlocked his classroom door to let students inside during the shooting, but that he never made it to safety.

“He unlocked the door and let us in,” Ms Friend said. “I had thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t. When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we could stay safe, but he didn’t get the chance to.”

Liza Luxenberg, a friend from the summer camp in Pennsylvania where he worked as a counsellor, said she was not surprised to hear Mr Beigel had sacrificed his life for his students.

“He has always been a hero to me as a friend, and now unfortunately the rest of the world gets to learn of his heroism in this tragedy,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Meadow Pollack

Meadow Pollack had dreams of attending Lynn University for college, her father told the New York Times – but she would not live to see this dream come true.

Ms Pollack’s father, Andy, learned of her death on Thursday morning, after calling her cell phone so many times he lost count, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“She was just unbelievable,” her father told the Times. “She was a very strong-willed young girl who had everything going for her.”

An aunt who did not want to giver her name told the Post that the 18-year-old was “beautiful”.

“We all loved her. She had a big family that loved her,” she said.

Cara Loughran

Cara Loughran’s parents were still desperately searching for the freshman on Wednesday, after being reunited with their son, 17-year-old Liam, who was also a student at the school.

On Thursday, family friends confirmed on Facebook that she had died.

“The incomprehensible pain that she and her family are suffering right now breaks my heart,” wrote Janine Tomeo. “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.”

Joaquin Oliver

Venezuela native Joaquin Oliver had become a US citizen last year, according to the Miami Herald. His sister was still looking for him on Wednesday night, according to a Facebook post on her account.

His girlfriend, Victoria González, later confirmed to the Herald that he was killed in the shooting.

On Thursday, tributes to the 17-year-old started pouring in.

“I will never forget how you changed my life,” former classmate Ross D Rosenzweig wrote on Facebook. “I love you forever. My little brother. You are my angel now.”

Alaina Petty

Alaina Petty’s parents called her ‘vibrant and determined’

The 14-year-old's parents recalled her in a statement as a “vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her”. She was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the school, and also volunteered regularly with her church, her parents said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on the shooting, saying in part: “Our hearts go out to the families of all impacted by this tragedy, and our prayers are for their comfort and healing. We wish to thank our family, friends, and the community for the love and support demonstrated to our family.”

Helena Ramsay

According to a Facebook user who identified himself as a family member, Ms Ramsay was due to start at college next year.

“Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanour brought the best out in all who knew her,” Curtis Page Jr wrote. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone”.

Alex Schachter

Alex Schachter was a member of his his school’s marching band and played the trombone. He leaves behind three siblings, according to a scholarship fundraising page – linked to by multiple people who said they were cousins – that was created to “help other students experience the joys of music as well as fund increased security at schools”.

“He was a sweetheart of a kid,” the page says.

A statement posted by Camp Echo, the summer camp Mr Schachter attended, remembered him as a “kind, caring individual” who displayed “the utmost integrity”.

Peter Wang

A member of his school’s junior Reserve Officer Training Program, Peter Wang reportedly died while holding open the door to a classroom so other students could escape to safety.

A cousin named Lin Chen described him as “caring” and “selfless” to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“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 like the big brother everyone wished they had,’’ she said.

This article will be updated as more victims are named.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments