Identities of victims of Florida school shooting emerge

The names of the victims of the shooting massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday have begun to emerge.

They included 17-year-old Helena Ramsay, 14-year-old Alex Schachter and 14-year-old Cara Loughran.

Helena's cousin, Sefena Cooper, described her as soft-spoken but also smart and a go-getter.

Alex's father posted on social media that he was a trombone and baritone player. Max Schachter said he is starting a scholarship fund in his son's name.

Cara's aunt, Lindsay Fontana, called her an excellent student who loved the beach and her cousins.

In a Facebook post, she implored people "to DO SOMETHING. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people's families."

Other victims included a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist and an ROTC student.

A photo made available by Joan Cox showing her nephew Luke Hoyer, who was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and was killed when former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school.

Family members identified them on Wednesday as Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang.

Carmen's cousin Matt Brandow posted on Facebook that the 16-year-old had recently visited Washington State and said she wanted to go to the University of Washington.

In September, she was named one of 53 National Merit Scholarship Programme semi-finalists in the county.

Aaron Chen told the Miami Herald that his cousin, Peter, was last seen holding a door open so others could get away from the gunman.

Another victim, Nicholas Dworet, had committed to swim for the University of Indianapolis.

Nicholas Dworet

The college announced on Thursday that the senior was among those killed.

In a statement, UIndy swimming coach Jason Hite called Nicholas an "energetic and very vibrant kid" who cheered for his soon-to-be university during a swimming meet last month.

Victim Gina Montalto was a 14-year-old freshman who participated on the winter colour guard squad at the school.

Friends and relatives posted tributes on Facebook.

Gina Montalto

Her mother, Jennifer Montalto, called her "a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered".

One of Gina's colour guard instructors from middle school, Manuel Miranda, told the Miami Herald that she was "the sweetest soul ever".

Martin Duque was "one of the nicest people I knew", his 15-year-old friend, Isaac Briones, said.

Isaac said he last saw Martin on the day of the shooting during first period when they were "just playing around, talking about jokes and stuff".

On Thursday, Isaac gathered outside the school with others holding a group of white balloons for the victims.

On Instagram, Miguel Duque wrote that words cannot describe the pain of losing his brother.

He added: "I love brother Martin you'll be missed buddy. I know you're in a better place. Duques forever man I love you junior!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!"

Ninth-grader Jaime Guttenberg loved to dance and hoped to become an occupational therapist and mother.

Jaime Guttenberg

In a written statement to the Associated Press, her aunt, Abbie Youkilis, said the 14-year-old "was a pretty girl with the world's best smile and her soul was sensitive and compassionate".

Jaime leaves her parents, Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg, and brother, Jesse.

Her father said in a Facebook post that he is "trying to figure out how my family gets through this".

Ms Youkilis called for gun control legislation, saying Jaime's parents were "the world's most loving and over-protective parents but they could not protect Jaime from the sickness that has gripped our country".

Friends confirmed senior student Joaquin Oliver was among the dead.

Joaquin Oliver

Nineteen-year-old Tyra Hemans said they had been friends since they were freshmen.

She was also outside the school on Thursday, holding up two signs, one about gun control and the other about coach Aaron Feis and Joaquin, widely known by his nickname "Guac", short for "guacamole".

Ms Hemans said she last saw her friend at school the day of the shooting.

Earlier in the day, Joaquin's sister, Andrea Ghersi, shared a photo of her brother on Facebook and wrote that he was missing after the shooting, that the family had contacted several hospitals without being able to find him and that they were waiting at a hotel for victim family members for word.

The post was shared more than 8,500 times.

A 35-year-old geography teacher was killed after helping students enter a locked classroom to avoid the gunman.

Students credited Scott Beigel with saving their lives.

Kelsey Friend told Good Morning America that when she heard gunshots and realised it was not a drill she followed other students towards the classroom.

Mr Beigel "unlocked the door and let us in", she said. "I thought he was behind me, but he wasn't. When he opened the door he had to relock it so we could stay safe, but he didn't get a chance to."

Student Bruna Oliveda said she saw Mr Beigel blocking the door.

A student soccer player was also among those killed.

Parkland Soccer Club posted on Facebook that Alyssa Alhadeff, was a "loved and well-respected member of our club and community".

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said on Thursday that 14-year-old Alaina Petty died in the shooting and 17-year-old Madeleine Wilford was seriously injured. Both girls were members of the religion's congregation in Coral Springs.

Alaina Petty

The Utah-based church, otherwise known as the Mormons, lamented in a statement that we "once again we find ourselves as a nation and as communities faced with a tragic loss of life and incomprehensible sorrow" and extended its love to victims and their families.

"We unite our prayers with millions of others who are mourning and praying for them," it said.

Athletic director Chris Hixon was a member of a Roman Catholic church in Hollywood and the Archdiocese of Miami confirmed his death on Thursday.

When the school needed someone to patrol the campus and monitor threats as a security specialist, Mr Hixon took the job.

It was in that role that he apparently came within range of the gunman.

A football coach who also worked as a security guard was also killed.

The football programme at the school said on Twitter that assistant coach Aaron Feis died while selflessly shielding students.

Aaron Feis

The tweet ended: "He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories."

The team website said Mr Feis graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity. He spent his entire coaching career there after playing as a student. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.

Meadow Pollack's parents called her phone repeatedly only to hear it ring, as they kept an anxious vigil outside the hospital.

The Palm Beach Post reported on Thursday that her father, Andrew Pollack, confirmed that his 18-year-old daughter was among the dead. He said she had planned to attend Lynn University.

Family friend Adam Schachtel said in a Facebook post that "an angel was taken away from us in that horrific tragedy ... no words can be said so just prayers and sadness".

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