Parkland school shooting 6 years later: Remembering the 17 victims

Seventeen students and staff were killed in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas massacre.

February 14, 2024, 8:10 AM

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.

They were among the 17 students and staff shot dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.

Six 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

PHOTO: A program is seen from the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff at the Garden of Aaron at Star of David Memorial Gardens, Feb. 16, 2018, in Parkland, Fla.
A program is seen from the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff at the Garden of Aaron at Star of David Memorial Gardens, Feb. 16, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. Alhadeff was one of 17 people killed in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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.

Lori Alhadeff and her husband Ilan Alhadeff right, hold a picture of their daughter Alyssa Alhadeff, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victim, during a news conference on gun control March 23, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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

Martin Duque Anguiano is seen here in this undated file photo.

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

Scott Beigel is seen here in this undated file photo.

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 is seen here in this undated file photo.

Nicholas Dworet was 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, "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."

"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?'"

Nicholas died one month before his 18th birthday. On the day he would have become an adult, his 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

Aaron Feis a football coach at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is seen here in this undated file photo.

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.

"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 often gave rides home to students who needed it and "he was a counselor to those who had no father figure," family friend Brandon Corona said at his funeral.

Aaron Feis is pictured in this 1999 yearbook from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Courtesy Ryan Mackman

Feis was survived by his wife and daughter, who was 8 at the time of the shooting.

"Aaron was the doting father every little girl wishes and dreams about. I can see his light in Ariel and recognize his spirit woven into her fabric," Feis' wife, Melissa Feis, wrote in a statement that was read in court. "[Ariel] misses her father terribly. Sometimes she is searching for answers to questions. It is these moments she will ask, 'What would daddy say? What advice do you think he would give me?' It is these days I feel his absence more."

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 Guttenberg, a victim of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is seen here in this undated file photo.
Social media via Reuters

"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 a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and was killed when former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
Abbie Youkilis via AP

Jaime Guttenberg "was smart and focused" and "wise beyond her years," her mother, Jennifer Guttenberg, said in court in 2022.

"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 to 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," he said. "I couldn't wait to see her graduate and ultimately become a pediatric physical therapist, working her dream job."

Chris Hixon, 49

This undated photo shows Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

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

An undated photo of Luke Hoyer, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Joan Cox via AP

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 in 2022.

"His presence could change a room," she said. "I miss his physical presence so much. I miss hearing his voice say, 'Mom.'"

"Losing my son Luke has caused me so much pain -- pain that I cannot even come close to describing," Gena Hoyer said. "I will never see my sweet boy grow up. I had to walk across the stage to receive Luke's high school diploma. ... There were no graduation pictures, no college acceptance letters, no prom pictures, no car trips to South Carolina for Christmas. Christmases are almost unbearable."

"The numbness I felt after his death has worn off and I'm resigned to this reality. I don't know that I will ever find real peace," his father, Thomas Hoyer, added. "Never again will the world feel right now that we're a family of four."

Cara Loughran, 14

Cara Loughran is seen here in this undated file photo.

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 Cara was a member.

After the shooting, performers at Irish dance schools around the country wore purple ribbons -- one of Cara's favorite colors -- in her honor, The Miami Herald reported.

Cara, 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," Cara's friend, Mackenzie Mirsky, told WPLG. "I can't close my eyes without thinking of my friend."

Gina Montalto, 14

PHOTO: This photo taken from Facebook shows an undated photo of Gina Montalto, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
This photo taken from Facebook shows an undated photo of Gina Montalto, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Montalto was killed when former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.
Facebook via AP

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

Joaquin Oliver is seen here in this undated file photo.

Joaquin Oliver was a planner, his mother, Patricia Oliver, said, planning everything from his high school graduation outfit to his college plans. He was looking to study business in college.

"Joaquin loved to make people smile. He loved to dance down the hallways at school," his partner, Victoria Gonzalez, said in court. "He worked so hard in class -- all he wanted was to graduate and make his family proud."

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.

"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," Manuel Oliver said.

Alaina Petty, 14

Alaina Petty, a victim of the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is pictured in an undated family handout photo.
Petty Family Handout

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.

Her older sister, Meghan Petty, described Alaina as smart, confident and someone who "shined with integrity."

"She never got a chance to even truly live," Meghan Petty said in court in 2022. "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

A photo of Meadow Pollack, one of the seventeen victims who was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sits against a cross as part of a public memorial, in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 17, 2018.
Gerald Herbert/AP

Meadow Pollack, a senior, "was an old soul with an understanding of the world far beyond her years," her mother, Shara Kaplan, said in court.

Kaplan described her as empathetic, inclusive and strong.

The 18-year-old left behind two older brothers who always wanted to protect her, Kaplan said.

"To try to articulate how it has affected me would be for me to rip my heart out and present it to you shattered in a million pieces," Kaplan said.

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, 17 in this undated handout photo, was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting on Feb. 14, 2018.
Ramsay Family Handout

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.

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 was murdered on her father's birthday.

"That day will never be a celebration and can never be the same for him, and now is filled with pain, as is every day we both miss our brave, beautiful and one-of-a kind, selfless daughter," Anne Ramsay said.

Alex Schachter, 14

Alex Schachter is seen here in this undated file photo.

Alex Schachter was just 4 years old when his mother died. After his father, Max Schachter, remarried, the family moved to Parkland because "it was an idyllic little community," Max Schachter said in court.

Alex was a talented trombone player in the school marching band.

Alex, now "forever a 14-year-old little boy," loved video games, chocolate chip cookies and smoothies, Max Schachter said. He played basketball and was a fan of the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics, his father said.

Alex was buried in the same cemetery as his mother.

"Our family is broken. There is this constant emptiness," Max Schachter said.

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Carmen Schentrup is pictured in this undated photo.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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

PHOTO: Candles for victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are placed at a vigil at Pine Trail Park in Parkland, Fla.,  Feb. 16, 2018.
Candles for victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are placed at a vigil at Pine Trail Park in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 16, 2018.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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 Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.

"I want people to know he died a hero," Ortiz said. "He died saving many people."

Peter Wang, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is seen in this photo near a memorial in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 16, 2018.
Allen Breed/AP

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.