They huddled together in classrooms. They waited as shot after shot sounded, as people screamed and ran and hid under desks. When the shooting was over on Wednesday at a high school in Parkland, Fla., 17 people had been killed. Among the dead were teachers and students: a popular football coach who himself had gone to the school, a soccer player and a trombonist in the marching band.
Florida officials have yet to release the names of those who died, but some victims were identified by family members and friends. These are some of their stories.
This story will be updated.
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, had played competitive soccer since she was three years old. Like any athlete, she had her ups and downs. But when her club, Parkland, faced off against the rival team from Coral Springs on Feb. 13, she was at the top of her game.
“Her passing was on, her shooting was on, her decision-making was on,” her mother, Lori Alhadeff, recalled. With her outgoing personality, Alyssa had a wide circle of friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She placed first in a debate tournament, was taking Algebra 2 and Spanish 3, and was honing her skills as an attacking midfielder. The score at what was to be her last time on the soccer field was 1-0, Parkland.
“I was so proud of her,” her mother said. “I told her it was the best game of her life.”
At Stoneman Douglas, Aaron Feis was known to all — an assistant football coach and a security monitor. But he too had graduated from the school, played on the football team, and knew exactly what it was like to be a student in these halls.
So he was seen as someone who looked out for students who got in trouble, those who were struggling, those without fathers at home. “They said he was like another father,” Mr. Feis’s grandfather, Raymond, recalled. “He’d go out of his way to help anybody.”
School officials said that Mr. Feis, who was in his 30s, did the same on Wednesday. As shots rang out, they said, he responded immediately to help. “When Aaron Feis died, when he was killed — tragically, inhumanely — he did it protecting others; you can guarantee that,” said Scott Israel, the sheriff of Broward County.
“I don’t know when Aaron’s funeral is,” Sheriff Israel said. “I don’t know how many adults are going to go, but you’ll get 2,000 kids there.”
It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. 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 pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3
In Parkland, Austin Lazar, a student, recalled his former coach as cheery and selfless. “He always put everybody before himself.”
Mr. Feis was married, his family said, and had an 8-year-old daughter, Arielle.
Meadow Pollack, 18, was a senior at the high school who was planning to go to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., next year, according to her father, Andrew Pollack, who said his daughter was among the dead.
“She was just unbelievable,” Mr. Pollack said. “She was a very strong-willed young girl who had everything going for her.”
Mr. Pollack described his daughter as smart, beautiful and caring. She worked at her boyfriend’s family’s motorcycle repair business.
“She just knew how to get what she wanted all the time,” Mr. Pollack said. “Nothing could ever stop her from what she wanted to achieve.”
Alex Schachter, 14, played the trombone in the Stoneman Douglas marching band, and was proud to have participated in winning a state championship last year. A freshman at the high school, he often played basketball with friends and was “a sweetheart of a kid,” his father, Max Schachter, said. Earlier this week, the two had discussed which classes Alex would take next semester.
Mr. Schachter said Alex had loved his mother, who died when he was five years old. His older brother also attends Stoneman Douglas and survived the shooting. Alex “just wanted to do well and make his parents happy,” his father said.
Audra D.S. Burch contributed reporting from Parkland, Fla. Patricia Mazzei and Maya Salam contributed from New York.