Stories of heroism are emerging in the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, which took the lives of at least 17 people and wounded 14 others. These are just a few of the stories from the devastating massacre that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
1. Colton Haab
After hearing seven gunshots, 17-year-old Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps student Colton Haab jumped into action. He told CNN that he led over 60 of his peers to safety in a JROTC room, using Kevlar sheets as shelter.
"We took those sheets, and we put them in front of everybody so they weren't seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down," Haab said. "I didn't think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing."
The teen said he and a friend were gearing up to try to fight the gunman if he entered the room.
"I was a little scared. I was more worried about getting home safe, making sure everybody got home safe," he said. "God forbid, if he did come into the classroom. I didn't want that to happen, but if it did, I would try to stop him with another friend of mine that was with us."
2. Melissa Falkowski
Teacher Melissa Falkowski thought fast and grabbed 19 students and hid them in a closet with her.
"We sort of huddled in the corner for a few minutes and then I made the decision to move everyone to the closet," she told CNN. “You try to do the best you can for the kids you are supposed to keep safe.”
Falkowski and her students hid for 30 minutes until SWAT officers came to secure the room.
3. Aaron Feis
Aaron Feis was an assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who lost his life protecting students. The football team’s Twitter wrote that during the shooting, “He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero.” According to the Sun Sentinel, Feis jumped between at least one student and the shooter to save her.
Feis was a fierce protector at the school. In fact, he also worked there as a security guard, reported CNN.
4. Unnamed Slain Student
One of the students who died in the shooting saved the life of her own best friend. According to NBC 2, Samantha Grady was in a class with her best friend when the gunfire erupted.
"There was a big bookshelf and we all kind of huddled there together. We clamped really close tightly together,” Grady said. They were hiding behind the bookshelf when the gunman began firing into the classroom.
Grady said her best friend told her, “'Grab a book. Grab a book.' It was a tiny book, but I took it and held it up."
Grady was hit by gunfire, but made it out alive. She credits that tip for saving her life.
"The book kind of deterred some of the bullets so they didn't hit me so badly,” she said.
As for her best friend, she said, “Unfortunately, she didn't make it. [...] She was the one who gave me the idea. She helped me a lot.”
5. Scott Beigel
Geography teacher Scott Beigel reportedly died after opening the door of his classroom to usher in students in an attempt to save their lives. In doing so, the gunman spotted him as he attempted to relock the door, and Beigel was shot dead.
One of the students he helped, Kelsey Friend, told "Good Morning America," “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.”
6. Unnamed Janitor
A janitor, whose identity has not yet been revealed, reportedly helped save countless students who were running toward the gunman. Student David Hogg told CNN that he after the suspected shooter pulled the fire alarm, he and other students began unknowingly running toward the danger.
“Thank God for a janitor that stopped us,” Hogg told CNN. “She saved my life, and she saved easily 40 others there.”
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