Family and friends of the 17 people killed in Wednesday’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, are speaking out about their lost loved ones, sharing words about their talents and aspirations as well as stories of heroism and sacrifice in their final moments.
These are the names of the victims and their stories.
Jaime Guttenberg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting took place, was confirmed dead by her father, Fred Guttenberg. He wrote a Facebook post Thursday morning in which he called her the family’s “baby girl.”
“I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family get’s through this,” he wrote.
Jamie Guttenberg’s brother, Jesse, was also at school during the shooting, but made it home alive, Local 10 News reported.
Meadow Pollack’s family confirmed the 18-year-old’s death to the Palm Beach Post on Thursday morning.
The news came hours after the high school senior’s parents carried out a desperate search. They told the Post that they had repeatedly called Pollack’s phone and heard it ring without an answer.
“We can’t locate her. I keep looking at my phone,” Andrew Pollack, her father, told the paper outside Broward Health North hospital. “I don’t know where to go from here.”
Alyssa Alhadeff’s mother, Lori Alhadeff, confirmed her daughter’s death to a reporter with Miami station WSVN.
“My daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, was shot many times and killed. We need to get these guns,” she said in a video posted to Twitter.
Parkland Travel Soccer, a local youth soccer club, also expressed grief over Alyssa Alhadeff’s death in a Facebook post that described her as “a loved and well respected member of our club and community.”
The club also shared a note that it said was written by the Alhadeff family: “To Alyssa’s Friends honor 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!”
“I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart, he just took his life in his hands and he chiseled and molded his life,” Andre Bailey said.
The university also confirmed the death.
Fourteen-year-old Gina Montalto was a member of the school’s winter guard, a synchronized dance and flag-waving group that performed with the marching band.
She “was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered,” her mother posted on social media, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Luke Hoyer’s grandparents were watching the news Wednesday afternoon when they learned that there had been a shooting at their youngest grandson’s school.
“The day went by and we didn’t hear anything about Luke. We kept hoping they would find him wandering around in shock,” his grandmother, Janice Stroud, told WYFF.
It wasn’t until 1 a.m. that Stroud said they got the call from police, confirming their greatest fear: Their grandson was among the dead.
Hoyer, 15, was a “happy-go-lucky kid” who loved basketball and “was always smiling,” his aunt, Joan Cox, told People magazine.
After his two older siblings moved out, Hoyer lived at home with his stay-at-home mom, who Cox said is now struggling to process how her youngest could suddenly be gone.
“She said, ‘Joan, I took him to school yesterday and I never thought I wouldn’t see him again,’” Cox recalled. “He got out of the car and it was like a regular day. She said she can’t imagine life without him.”
Martin Duque, a freshman, was also killed in the shooting on Wednesday. The 14-year-old’s parents told Telemundo that the family was unable to communicate with the teen because he did not have a cellphone.
Duque’s brother, Miguel, confirmed his death with an Instagram post on Thursday.
“Words can not describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place,” he wrote.
Alex Schachter’s father, Max, confirmed his death to The New York Times. The 14-year-old student liked basketball, played the trombone and won state championships with his school band.
His father described him to the Times as “a sweetheart of a kid,” and said “he just wanted to do well and make his parents happy.”
Alex Schachter’s older brother also attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and survived the shooting.
Joaquin Oliver, 17, was initially reported missing after the tragic shooting. After hours of not hearing from him, his sister, Andrea Ghersi, posted on Facebook to ask for information regarding her brother’s whereabouts.
Oliver’s girlfriend, Victoria González, confirmed to the Miami Herald on Thursday that Oliver was among the victims. Oliver immigrated with his family to the U.S. from Venezuela when he was three years old and became a citizen last year.
The family of 14-year-old Alaina Petty confirmed her death in a statement obtained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and published by LDS Living.
The freshman was active in her community, participating in her school’s JROTC program and volunteering with the Mormon church’s “Helping Hands” program, according to the family’s statement.
“Alaina was part of hundreds of volunteers that rushed to the most heavily impacted areas of Florida to clean up and help rebuild the lives of those devastated by Hurricane Irma. Her selfless service brought peace and joy to those that had lost everything during the storm,” the statement read.
“While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective. We are grateful for the knowledge that Alaina is a part of our eternal family and that we will reunite with her. This knowledge and unabiding faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan gives us comfort during this difficult time.”
Peter Wang, a 15-year-old freshman and a member of the high school’s ROTC program, is being remembered for his dedication to others up until his final moment.
His cousin Lin Chen told the Sun Sentinel she heard Wang was wearing his gray ROTC shirt and holding a door to let others evacuate the school before him when he was last seen alive.
“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,” Chen said.
The teenager, who was born in New York City, has two younger brothers. His parents, who own a restaurant in West Palm Beach, were described as too distraught to speak.
Cara Loughran was confirmed dead by the sheriff’s office during a press conference on Thursday. A family friend wrote on Facebook that the girl’s parents received the news at 2 a.m. after the shooting.
A neighbor, Danny Vogel, memorialized Loughran in a post on Thursday.
“RIP Cara, and fly with the angels. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life,” Vogel wrote.
Authorities confirmed Helena Ramsey’s death at a press conference Thursday evening.
Curtis Page Jr., who identified himself as a family member, described Ramsey on Facebook as “smart, kindhearted, and (a) thoughtful person.”
“She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone. She would have started college next year,” Page wrote.
Chris Hixon, the high school athletic director, was a wrestling coach like his father before him, and was credited with helping the school’s basketball team win a state and national championship in 2016.
In addition to being a great athlete who dedicated his life to encouraging youth, Coral Springs High School athletic director Dan Jacob described Hixon to the Sun Sentinel as “probably the nicest guy I 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,” Jacob said of Hixon, who was married and had children of his own.
Scott Beigel, a geography teacher, was killed while trying to help his students take shelter. A number of students recounted rushing into a classroom after Beigel unlocked its door. He was shot and killed in the doorway before he could secure the room.
Kelsey Friend, one of Beigel’s students, expressed how grateful she was to Biegel’s family during a tearful tribute on CNN.
“Thank you for bringing and having this amazing person in life and giving him the power to be stronger than I could have ever been,” Friend said.
A number of Biegel’s friends memorialized the teacher on social media, recounting his kindness and mentorship as a camp counselor. Matt Hipps, a longtime friend of Biegel, also gave an emotional tribute to the teacher.
“I always was in awe of how effortless he made it all look,” Hipps wrote on Facebook. “And he was so unselfish with his talents and gifts. He made others better.”
Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach who had attended the high school and then built a career there, was among those killed.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who said Feis had coached his two sons, confirmed the death at a press conference on Thursday morning. Feis’ cousin also confirmed the news to HuffPost.
“I am so sad about this news,” Joey Fulco said. “The entire Feis family [is] devastated.”
Feis was hailed as a hero after reportedly using his body to protect students from gunfire. Head football coach Willis May told the Sun Sentinel that a female student told him Feis had jumped between her and the shooter and pushed her through a door to escape the bullets.
“He’s a hero and always will be,” Sammy Bromberg, a former student who played on the football team, told HuffPost. “My biggest mentor in high school got me through everything.”
The high school’s football team expressed its grief over Feis’ death on Twitter, stating: “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.”
Feis’ heroism was unsurprising to students, who recalled his warm, welcoming presence at the school.
“Even if I wanted so much as a place to sit, his office was always open,” former student Ashley Speziale told The Daily Beast. “He’d sit with me. He’d talk to me. He’d let me be in silence.”
An online fundraiser has been created for the victims and their families as they deal with the tragedy. The Broward Education Foundation launched a GoFundMe page, verified by the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, on Thursday.
This story has been updated with new information about the victims.