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A football coach and a 14-year-old freshman were among the 17 people killed in a mass shooting at a South Florida high school Wednesday.
More than a dozen others were injured in the Valentine’s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
School football coach and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate Aaron Feis was one of the 17 killed, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Feis was protecting others when he was shot, Israel said.
A former high school classmate called Feis a “hero.”
Martin Duque, 14, was also killed. His older brother Miguel, who graduated from the same school last year, 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.”
Student Jamie Guttenberg was also among the dead.
Her father, Fred Guttenberg, wrote on Facebook today, “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 get’s through this.”
He added, “Hugs to all and hold your children tight.”
Teacher Scott Biegel died while saving others, according to student Kelsey Friend.
Friend told “Good Morning America” that Biegel unlocked a classroom door and started letting students inside.
“I had thought he was behind me … but he wasn’t,” Friend said, crying.
“When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we can stay safe. And he didn’t get the chance to,” Friend said, noting that her teacher was lying on the floor.
“I’m so thankful he was there to help everybody,” she added.
Gina Montalto also died in the shooting, her mother, Jennifer Montalto, said in a Facebook post.
“She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered. She will be missed by our family for all eternity,” the post said.
Other victims were identified as Meadow Pollack, Joaquin Oliver, Cara Loughran, Nicholas Dworet and Alex Schachter.
After the shooting authorities arrested the 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from the school over disciplinary problems. He was charged with 17 counts of pre-meditated murder.
The school will be closed the rest of the week and grief counselors will be made available for students beginning this morning, officials said.