A teenage female student and a track coach have been identified as the first of the 17 victims killed when a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at a Florida high school on Valentine’s day.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire Wednesday afternoon as students ran for their lives. He ended up killing at least 17 adults and children, and at least 50 people were injured. Student Jaime Guttenburg and teacher Chris Hixon, 49, were among those killed.
Jaime Guttenburg’s parents Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg said she died in the shooting, while their son, Jesse, made it home.
Until his death yesterday, Chris Hixon was a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Hixon’s colleague coach Aaron Feis was among those fighting for his life after being hailed a hero for shielding students from gunfire in the deadly massacre. Feis was injured during the shooting and had been protecting students from the attack, according to the Miami Herald.
Tributes poured in for 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.”
Nikolas Cruz, a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, stormed his alma mater on Wednesday afternoon armed with an assault rifle. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former student at the school but had been expelled for unknown “disciplinary reasons” last year. Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15 rifle and had “multiple magazines” when he stormed the school wearing a gas mask, according to the sheriff.
Investigators are now looking into whether Cruz may have pulled the fire alarm to draw people into halls so he could get a higher death toll.