Parkland school shooting 5 years later: Remembering the 17 victims
Seventeen students and staff were killed in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas massacre.
A 15-year-old Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet who dreamed of attending West Point but died helping classmates escape. A precocious 16-year-old girl ready to head to college and "change the world." And a high school football coach who ran toward the sound of gunfire, trying to shield students.
Five years after a school shooting that shook the nation, here is a look back at the lives lost in the Parkland, Florida, massacre.
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
Freshman soccer player Alyssa Alhadeff "took every second of her life and did something with it," her mother, Lori Alhadeff, told ABC News. "She had the fire to fight."
Alyssa Alhadeff was on track to play soccer in college and had dreamed of one day being on the U.S. women's national team, her mother said.
"She aspired for that greatness," Lori Alhadeff said. "She was probably one of the smallest on the team but the feistiest."
Laurie Thomas, the girls' soccer coach, said Alyssa Alhadeff was the "voice of our team."
"She was a leader, not just by what she said, but also by the character," Thomas said. "She led the team on and off the field."
Months after the shooting, Lori Alhadeff won a seat on the county's school board.
"I want to do everything possible to make this school system a model that other districts will look and try to replicate," Alhadeff said when she announced her candidacy.
She said she didn't want "any other parent to go through the pain and anguish I go through every day."
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14
Freshman Martin Duque Anguiano was born in a small town in Mexico and dreamed of becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL, his family said in a statement read in court in August 2022.
"He would always tell his parents that when he grew up, he would buy them a house," his family said.
The teen loved "Star Wars" and was an "old soul," who "always tried to see the best in people," his family said.
"He was sweet and caring and loved by everyone in his family," his older brother, Miguel Duque, wrote on a GoFundMe page.
"Words can not describe my pain," Miguel wrote on Instagram. "You'll be missed buddy. I know you're in a better place."
He was awarded the U.S. Army's Medal of Heroism after his death.
Scott Beigel, 35
Geography teacher and cross-country coach Scott Beigel died while saving others, according to students and colleagues.
Student Kelsey Friend told ABC News that Beigel unlocked a classroom door during the gunfire and ushered students inside.
"I had thought he was behind me ... but he wasn't," Friend said.
"When he opened the door, he had to re-lock it so we can stay safe. And he didn't get the chance to," Friend said, noting that her teacher was lying on the floor.
"I'm so thankful he was there to help everybody," she said, calling him a "really amazing teacher."
As a cross-country coach, it didn't matter if a student was the fastest runner or the slowest, he treated everyone equally, his mother, Linda Beigel Schulman, said in court in August 2022.
"Scott's cross-country team loved him as he loved each and every one of them. To this day, I still hear from many of them," Schulman said.
She described her son as humble, witty and great with children.
As for her grief, Schulman said, "I am still trying to learn to live with this every day, and it's not getting any easier."
Nicholas Dworet, 17
Nicholas Dworet was extremely passionate about swimming and was headed to the University of Indianapolis on an athletic scholarship, his family said.
"He dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best," the family said.
His mother, Annika Dworet, said in court in 2022 through tears, "We have an empty bedroom in our house. There is an empty chair at our dining table. [Nick's brother] Alex will never have a brother to talk or hang out with. They will never again go for a drive blasting very loud music."
"We did not get to see Nick graduate from high school or college," she said. "We will not get to see him getting married. We will always hesitate before answering the question, 'How many kids do you have?'"
Dworet died one month before his 18th birthday. On the day he would have become an adult, Dworet's classmates marked his birthday at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. Some Parkland survivors became activists, launching a national, youth-led movement demanding an end to gun violence.
Aaron Feis, 37
Beloved school football coach Aaron Feis, also a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate, died running toward the gunfire, trying to shield students, officials said.
"I coached with him. My two boys played for him," said Scott Israel, who was Broward County sheriff at the time of the shooting.
Israel called him "a phenomenal man" and "one of the greatest people I knew."
"The kids in this community loved him, adored him," Israel said. "He was just such a great individual."
"The fact that he died saving lives, the guy's a hero," high school student Ryan Mackman said. "He was always a giving guy, he was always there for people, he had a big heart. That showed all the way to the end."
Feis was survived by his wife and daughter, family friend Brandon Corona said at the funeral.
The football coach worked two, sometimes three jobs, he added.
"He always wanted to be the best dad he could be," Corona said. "He was the epitome of what a hardworking husband and father should be."
Describing him as loving, strong, kind and patient, Corona said Feis gave rides home to students who needed it and "he was a counselor to those who had no father figure."
Jaime Guttenberg, 14
Jaime Guttenberg was a freshman who loved to dance.
Her father, Fred Guttenberg, was overcome with emotion as he spoke of her death the next day.
"My job is to protect my children," Guttenberg said at a vigil, his voice cracking. "And I sent my kid to school."
"Jaime was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. What is unfathomable is Jaime took a bullet and is dead," he added, his voice trembling. "Don't tell me there is no such thing as gun violence."
Fred Guttenberg has since become a national advocate for gun safety.
Jaime Guttenberg "was smart and focused" and "wise beyond her years," her mother, Jennifer Guttenberg, said in court last year.
"Every day I live with the fact that Jaime's life was cut too short and that she was unable to show the world her fullest potential," she said.
"Jaime will be forever 14, but it was not supposed to be that way," Fred Guttenberg added in court. "I couldn't wait to teach her drive. I couldn't wait to throw her a Sweet 16 party. I couldn't wait to see her have her first boyfriend, and yes, I had my dad speech all worked out for whoever that boy was gonna be."
"I couldn't wait to see her graduate. I couldn't wait to see her achieve her dream of getting into the University of Florida and rooming with her cousin and living her best life. I couldn't wait to see her graduate and ultimately become a pediatric physical therapist, working her dream job," he said.
Chris Hixon, 49
Chris Hixon, the school's athletic director and head wrestling coach, died running toward the shooting.
A Broward County athletic director of the year, Hixon was also a U.S. Navy reservist who had been deployed to Iraq, according to Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.
He was survived by his wife and two sons.
Hixon's death impacted the entire community, as he was a mentor to many of his peers and students and a coach across several schools in Broward County, his wife said.
"Coach Hixon, for me, was a father figure," wrestler Karlos Valentin said, the Sun Sentinel reported.
"He was such a sweet guy," wrestler Ray Corniel said, according to the newspaper. "He would bring us food for all our tournaments and take care of us like we were his own children and just watch over us, let us learn about life lessons."
Luke Hoyer, 15
Feb. 14, 2018, was the last morning Gena Hoyer had with her youngest child, her "precious Lukey bear," who loved basketball and chicken nuggets.
"He yelled from upstairs, 'Mom, thank you for my Valentine card and candy,'" she recalled in court last year.
"His presence could change a room," she said. "I miss his physical presence so much. I miss hearing his voice say 'Mom.'"
Luke wore a cross every day, and Gena Hoyer requested to get it from his body so she could wear it to his funeral. She said she now wears the cross every day "and it gives me such strength."
"I was so lucky to be his mom," she said.
Cara Loughran, 14
Freshman Cara Loughran "was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face," said the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida, where Loughran was a member.
After the shooting, performers at Irish dance schools around the country wore purple ribbons -- one of Loughran's favorite colors -- in her honor, reported The Miami Herald.
Loughran, survived by her parents and her older brother, "was an excellent student" who loved her 8-year-old nieces, said her aunt, Lindsay Fontana.
"We are absolutely gutted," Fontana wrote on Facebook.
"I never got to say goodbye to her," Loughran's friend, Mackenzie Mirsky, told WPLG. "I can't close my eyes without thinking of my friend."
Gina Montalto, 14
Gina Montalto "was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered," her mother, Jennifer Montalto, wrote on Facebook.
She was a Girl Scout, a church volunteer, a soccer player and Color Guard member who "earned top-notch grades," The Miami Herald reported.
"She loved to cook with her Father and her Grandmother, especially during the holiday season," her parents wrote on a GoFundMe page. "She was an avid reader and loved Harry Potter books, Hunger Games and Wonder Woman. She loved fashion and enjoyed shopping, spa days with Mom and NY Jets games with Dad."
"She was best buddies with her little brother and she loved her whole family especially all her cousins," her parents wrote. "Gina will be missed not only by her family, but by everyone whose life she touched. Gina always took great pride in her education. High grades and school involvement were a huge part of Gina's life. She always looked for ways to help others."
Joaquin Oliver, 17
The night before Joaquin Oliver was killed at school, his father, Manuel Oliver, took his son to buy Valentine's Day flowers for his girlfriend. The teen took extra time getting dressed for school the next morning and proudly held her flowers and card in the car when his father drove him to school.
"I said, 'Love you.' And he gave me a kiss, 'I love you too.' And I told him, just make sure you call me to see how did it go with the flowers," Manuel Oliver told ABC News' "Nightline" months after the shooting. "And then he never called me."
The teen was buried in NBA player Dwyane Wade's jersey. The Olivers later started a nonprofit organization called Change the Ref, a platform inspired by their son in part to educate and empower youth in the movement to end gun violence.
Manuel Oliver said the nonprofit's name came from a conversation he had with his son a few months before he died. Joaquin was frustrated by a series of bad calls a referee had made in a basketball game, which inspired the father and son to call the recreational league and ask to have the ref switched out.
After his son's death, Manuel Oliver said politicians didn't want to discuss gun control, which he described as the victims' parents' main issue.
"So Change the Ref is looking for the right ref to make the right calls, that he has to be impartial, he cannot have any connection or any kind of personal interest with any one of the teams," he said.
Alaina Petty, 14
Alaina Petty loved church and the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, her mother said.
The teen helped rebuild areas of Florida after the state was hit by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
"She never got a chance to even truly live," her sister, Meghan Petty, said in court last year. "She never got her braces off. She never had her first kiss. It causes me pain to know she never went on a first date ... never got to fall in love, never got to experience heartbreak and come out stronger and wiser."
"She didn't get to pick what college she wanted to attend or feel the anticipation of waiting for that acceptance or rejection letter," she said. "She'll never be able to get married or have kids of her own -- and she probably hadn't even begun to think about those things because she was supposed to have a lifetime to figure that out."
Alaina Petty was awarded the U.S. Army's Medal of Heroism after her death.
Meadow Pollack, 18
Meadow Pollack "was an old soul with an understanding of the world far beyond her years," her mother, Shara Kaplan, said in court last year.
Kaplan described Pollack as empathetic, inclusive and strong.
Pollack, a senior had been accepted to Lynn University in Boca Raton, according to ABC affiliate WPLG.
"Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy," said university spokeswoman Jamie D'Aria, according to WPLG. "We were very much looking forward to having her join our community."
Shortly after the massacre, Meadow's father, Andrew Pollack, said at a listening session with then-President Donald Trump that "We should have fixed it!" after one school shooting.
"She's in Fort Lauderdale King David Cemetery," Andrew Pollack said of his daughter. "That is where I go to see my kid now."
Helena Ramsay, 17
Helena Ramsay was a "graceful young woman who played the clarinet, was a strong, competent swimmer, a fast sprinter," her mother, Anne Ramsay, said in court last year.
She loved arts and crafts, dancing, music and watching Alex Trebek host "Jeopardy!," her mother said. She was also interested in environmental and humanitarian issues, participating in her school's Model U.N. club and, after learning about the decline of bee populations, drafted a list of bee-friendly plants to grow in the Coral Springs community garden.
Helena's best friend, Samantha Grady, was grazed by a bullet during the massacre.
The two spent much of their school days together, and Samantha told ABC News' "Nightline" that "going throughout my day without that, it's something that I have to get used to."
Alex Schachter, 14
Alex Schachter was just 4 years old when his mother died. His father, Max Schachter, remarried, and his two sons instantly gained a loving mother and two adoring sisters, Schachter said in his eulogy, which was published in The Washington Post.
"I moved my family to Parkland because it was an idyllic little community," Max Schachter wrote. "I never thought this would happen to me. I never thought it would happen here."
Alex Schachter was a talented trombone player in the school marching band.
"The improvement I witnessed from him was admirable and inspiring," Alexander Kaminsky, the school's director of bands, told the Sun Sentinel.
Alex also played guard on a recreational basketball team and was a fan of the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics, his father said. The 14-year-old loved chocolate chip cookies and smoothies.
Alex Schachter was buried in the same cemetery as his mother.
Carmen Schentrup, 16
Carmen Schentrup, a dedicated, accomplished and straight-A student "was going to change the world," her parents said in a statement on Facebook.
The precocious teenager was a National Merit Finalist, though she never knew it, as the award came the day after she was killed, her parents said.
Accepted to the University of Florida honors program, she "was exuberant to begin her college experience," her parents said, so she could "become a medical scientist and discover a cure for horrible diseases, like ALS."
The teen "devoured books" and loved art and music, the family said. She played piano, violin and guitar and also sang in the church choir.
Schentrup was "mature beyond her years," her parents said, yet "still a kid at heart."
"We loved that she never outgrew our hugs and would hug us before she went to bed," they wrote.
"Carmen was a dreamer," her parents said.
They said their daughter dreamed of visiting Germany, so she taught herself the language.
"We miss seeing her make her dreams come true," they said.
Peter Wang, 15
Peter Wang was an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet with "a lifetime goal to attend" the U.S. Military Academy, known as West Point, the academy said.
He was wearing his JROTC uniform when he was killed at school while trying to help classmates.
Wang "was pointing the door open for other people to escape, and then he was struck by the bullets," friend Aiden Ortiz told ABC affiliate WPLG.
"I want people to know he died a hero," Ortiz said. "He died saving many people."
West Point officials called Wang a "brave young man" and posthumously offered him admission "for his heroic actions."
Wang and two other slain cadets were awarded the U.S. Army's Medal of Heroism.
Wang was buried in his uniform and his family was offered a keepsake medal.
Editor's note: This story originally was published in 2018 and has since been updated.
ABC News' Meredith Longo contributed to this report.