School Shooting: Teacher’s heroic final moments
A TEENAGE girl who survived the Florida school shooting on Wednesday has paid tribute to the "heroic" teacher who saved her life, as more details about the victims emerged.
Kelsey Friend spoke through tears on US TV as she remembered 35-year-old geography teacher Scott Beigel.
Student who witnessed Florida school shooting: "This is something that we can't let keep happening because if we do and we get used to it, it's gonna happen again...this is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there's a serious issue here." pic.twitter.com/0a1pyumags— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 15, 2018
"I am alive today because of him," the teenager told Good Morning America.
Kelsey was part of a group of students who were running from suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz who went on a rampage through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, killing at least 17 and injuring many more.
"He unlocked the door and let us in. I thought he was behind me but he wasn't. When he opened the door, he had to relock it so that we could stay safe but he didn't get the chance," Friend later said on CNN.
Beigel was one of three school staff members who lost their lives with athletic director Chris Hixon and assistant football coach Aaron Feis believed to have also died trying to help others.
Student David Hogg, 18, also told how a female school cleaner saved his life and many others by telling them to run in the opposite direction as Cruz sprayed bullets through the school's halls.
Florida School Superintendent Ron Runcie said paid tribute to the staff who lost their lives, saying teachers put their lives on the line for their students every day and needed to be recognised for the additional roles they play.
Authorities said all of the families of the victims had been notified.
Scott Beigel, a 35-year-old geography teacher, had only been at the school a year.
According to Kelsey Friend, Beigel saw a group of students running and let them into his classroom to hide.
The suspected gunman Cruz then walked past and shot the teacher before he could lock the door.
The teenager also turned to the camera and sent a message to the teacher's family.
"Thank you for bringing him and having this amazing person in life and giving him the power to be stronger than I could have ever been.
"He will be missed by me and multiple friends, his name with me will live on."
Kelsey told reporters it was the teacher's first year at the school.
She said she did not know the man was dead until she realised he was laying motionless.
"Someone said, 'Mr. Beigel is not moving. He is laying in the doorway, but he is not moving.'"
She described scenes as "like a movie".
"I saw blood and I saw two students curled up in balls. I saw more blood, backpacks thrown everywhere.
"There was gunpowder all over the floor. I just started screaming."
Football coach Feis was praised for using his body to shield students.
Speaking to Fox News a student at the school said: "He sprinted with everything he had towards it to make sure everybody was safe, and I heard that he got in front of a couple of people and shielded them, and he actually took the bullets for them."
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Feis was "undoubtedly" saving the lives of students, saying he didn't know when his funeral would be but there would be "at least 2000 students there".
"He was a phenomenal man who all the students loved," he said.
The school's football team tweeted: "It is with great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis.
"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."
Twitter user @DiCiccoMethod tweeted: "Coaches are always protectors ... Some heroes wear Gatorade towels over their shoulders."
Many tweeted that Feis stepped in front of students during the shooting and took several bullets.
Scott Warner tweeted: "Rather than talk about the coward shooter, meet Aaron Feis, football coach & security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. He stepped in front of many students to protect them from bullets."
Tributes also poured in for athletic director Chris Hixon.
Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob, who knew Hixon through wrestling coaching, told the Sun-Sentinel: "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."
According to his Facebook profile, Hixon had previously been employed as South Broward High School as their athletic director.
He had just recently secured the high school a state championship in 2016, among other sport accomplishments.
Teenager Jaime Guttenberg was the first student to be named as a victim.
Her father, Fred Guttenberg posted on Facebook his "heart is broken" after losing his "baby girl to a violent shooting".
"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. We appreciate all of the calls and messages and we apologise 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."
Many friends left tributes saying they were "heartbroken" at the loss of the "loving" young woman.
Star swimmer Nicholas Dworet was also among the victims.
According to the Indy Star, Nicholas had recently received an academic scholarship and committed to joining the University of Indianapolis swimming team when the was killed. Often called "swim daddy," Nicholas was captain of the school's swim team and had spent the last year improving his speeds, the Indy Star reported.
"I'm telling you from the bottom of my heart, he just took his life in his hands and he chiselled and moulded his life," the school's swimming coach, Andre Bailey, told the Indy Star.
"This kid went from being listless and going through the motions to planning ahead and organising his life."
"This is a kid who went from middle of the pack last year to being just lights out," Bailey said. "He helped put our program on the map," Bailey said.
"Everybody loved him."
The University of Indianapolis also issued a statement regarding Nicholas' death.
"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," the school's president Robert L. Manuel said.
"I hope our Greyhound family can come together to engage the questions raised by these shootings and ensure that our community continues to be a safe place for all of our students, faculty and staff."
Alyssa Alhadeff, a keen soccer player, was also among those killed.
Her death was announced via a Facebook post via Parkland Soccer Club, where the teenager played.
"It is with great sadness that one of our beloved Parkland Soccer Club players was one of the victims of the shooting yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School," the post read. "Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our club and community [and] will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all the other victims of this tragic event."
After the shooting, the teenager was listed as "missing".
"Find her alive!" Vicki Alhadeff, Alyssa's grandmother, tweeted on Wednesday night. "We know she's missing. We can't find her. The phone was tracked to the school."
Parkland Soccer Club asked that 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".
Gina Montalto was named among the victims by friends and family. She was just 14.
A member of the school's marching team (called the winter guard team), Gina was described as "kind, caring [and] always smiling".
One of her former instructors, Manuel Miranda, took to Facebook to convey his grief.
"My heart is broken into pieces. I will forever remember you my sweet angel," Miranda said. "She was the sweetest soul ever. She was kind, caring always smiling and wanting to help."
Cara Loughran was confirmed dead by neighbour.
"RIP Cara, and fly with the angels,' the neighbour posted on Facebook. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life."
Alex was a marching band student, and was confirmed dead by a former instructor as well as by Congregation Beth Am in Longwood.
Meadow Pollack, 18, who went missing after Wednesday's shooting, has died, her father, Andrew Pollack said.
Meadow was in her final year of high school and planned to attend university .
A day earlier her father, Andrew Pollack, said he and his wife had kept calling her phone but just continued to ring out.
"Please say a prayer for the family of an amazing girl I got to call my bestfriend growing up," posted her friend Gii Lovito on Facebook. "Her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels."
Joaquin was born in Venezuela and moved to the US at the age of three with his family. His girlfriend Victoria González confirmed he was killed in the massacre.
Joaquin's girlfriend took to Instagram to share her grief.
"Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year. I love you with all my heart bub, I could never thank you enough for all you have done for me."
Luke Hoyer was confirmed to have died on the third floor of the school by family members.
"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," his uncle, Toni Brownlee said on Facebook. "Also, pray for the other families whose loved were also murdered so cruelly."
His aunt, Mary Stroud-Gibbs, also paid tribute to her nephew: "Our Luke was a precious child, who just went to school yesterday not knowing what was to come."
Martin's brother, Miguel, confirmed the news in an Instagram post, the Miami Herald reported. "I love you brother Martin you'll be missed buddy. I know you're in a better place."
Martin was just 14 years old.
Carmen Schentrup's cousin Matt Brandow, confirmed the 16-year-old's death in a Facebook post.
"With a very heavy heart, my beloved cousin Carmen just passed away in the Parkland high school shooting today," Brandow wrote.
He added: "Rest In Peace Carmen, you were the smartest and most intelligent 16-year-old I've ever met! You will be remembered forever."
Alaina Petty's family confirmed her death.
"There are no hashtags for moments like this, only sadness," Alaina's great-aunt said, according to the Miami Herald. "Our hearts are with them and all the families touched by this tragedy."
Student Peter Wang was also confirmed dead by his family.
"He wasn't supposed to die. He was supposed to grow old with me. Please share his story," Peter's cousin, Aaron Chen, told First Coast News.