Published On: Fri, Feb 16th, 2018

Thousands Gather to Honor Victims of Tragic High School Shooting

By: Bryanna Basilio

Photo by Gerald Herbert

“How could this have happened?” said a student wearing a Marjory Stoneman Douglas varsity football t-shirt during Thursday’s 6 p.m. vigil at Pine Trails Park in Parkland. 

It was the day after Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which took the lives of 17 students and teachers, wounding 15 others. A vigil took place for what is now the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, impacting the 3,000 students and staff at the school, the affluent Parkland community, and the entire nation.

Thousands of parents, students, school staff, and other mourning residents descended upon the grassy field of Pine Trails Park for the 6 p.m. vigil. When the sun went down, a somberness swept the air as the crowd’s candles lit the field in solidarity for the victims.
The vigil began with a moment of silence for the slain victims. Audible sobs rose from the crowd as the names of victims were read.

“Emotionally, spiritually they’re struggling as they lost loved ones and friends so this is gonna be a tough road as we move forward,” said Parkridge Church pastor Eddie Bevill, whose church held a vigil earlier in the day.

At Pine Trails Park, many dressed in the school’s colors, some placed flowers under various crosses planted into the ground. Others wielded signs asking for action to fight school violence such as gun control.

Standing at center stage were 17 four-foot-tall ornamental angels adorned with lights that represent the victims.

Hours before the evening vigil, the perpetrator of Wednesday’s massacre Nikolas Cruz, 19, appeared in court where the judge ordered he will be held without bond on 17 counts of murder.

By late Thursday afternoon, authorities released the names of all those who were killed. The 17 victims ranged in age from 14 to 49.

Their names:

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Parkland

Scott Beigel, 35, Coral Springs

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14, Parkland

Nicholas Dworet, 17, Coral Springs

Aaron Feis, 37, Coral Springs

Jamie Guttenberg, 14, Parkland

Chris Brent Hixon, 49, Hollywood

Luke Hoyer, 15, Parkland

Cara Loughran, 14, Coral Springs

Gina Montalto, 14, Parkland

Joaquin Oliver, 17, Coral Springs

Alaina Petty, 14, Parkland

Meadow Pollack, 18, Parkland

Helena Ramsay, 17, Coral Springs

Alex Schachter, 14, Coral Springs

Carmen Marie Schentrup, 16, Parkland

Peter Wang, 15, Parkland

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