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Authorities Identify Victims As Stories Of Heroism In Florida School Shooting Emerge

PARKLAND, Fla. (CBSNewYork/CBS News/CBS Miami) -- Authorities say all 17 victims killed in a mass shooting at a Florida high school have been identified.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, many of them were also heroes who died protecting and saving the lives of others.

PHOTOS: Parkland Florida In Mourning



Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday that all of the families of the victims have been notified, adding that authorities would be officially releasing the victims' names later in the day.

Click here to donate to the families of victims and survivors.

The victims were identified as:

Aaron Feis

Aaron Feis
(credit: Image via CBS2)

One of the first confirmed victims was Aaron Feis, 37, an assistant football coach and security guard at the school, who died running to protect the students.

"He sprinted with everything he had towards it to make everyone was safe and I heard that he got in front of a couple people and shielding them," one student said. "He actually took the bullets for them."

Described as a large man with an even bigger heart, Feis did not hesitate to run towards trouble.

"I do know that one of our teachers, apparently two of them, were shot and killed," school spokesman Jim Gard said. "One was shot and killed standing in front of kids and it doesn't surprise me."

News of his heroic death spread quickly. His football team posted a note early Thursday morning that said "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," the post said. "He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and will forever be in our hearts and memories."

Chris Hixon

Christopher Hixon
Christopher Hixon (via Facebook)

Chris Hixon, 49, was the athletic director for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been reported dead, according to Denise Lehtio, the communications director with the school's varsity and junior varsity football program.

Lehtio told CNN that the football coach at Douglas told her Hixon was shot and killed.

A photo from Hixon's U.S. Navy retirement ceremony was shared on social media. According to the post's caption, Hixon is survived by his wife, Debbi, sons Thomas (Ines) and Corey and two grandchildren.

Scott Biegel

Scott Biegel
Scott Biegel

Scott Biegel, 35, was a geography teacher, and was killed while trying to usher his students back into the classroom when shooting broke out.

In a Facebook post, Biegel's friend, Matt Hipps, said Biegel was his "friend, my brother, my family."

"He died shielding his students from gunfire. He made the ultimate sacrifice to do what he so often effortlessly did; make the lives of other people better," Hipps wrote. "I won't say goodbye. It just hurts too much. I will see you on the other side."

One of Biegel's students, Kelsey Friend, told CNN that the teacher was shot outside the classroom door and saved her life.

"Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom," Friend told CNN. "I am alive today because of him."

Jaime Guttenberg

Jamie Guttenberg
Jamie Guttenberg (via family)

Jamie Guttenberg, 14, was a student at the school. A student who knew here described her as having a kind soul, saying, "She was a really good friend."

Her father, Fred, shared the tragic news in a Facebook post, as CBS Miami reported.

Guttenberg's parents spent Wednesday evening searching for their missing children, according to BBC News. Her brother, Jesse, returned home safely.

Her Facebook page has since been turned into a memorial. Friends called her "charismatic and lovely."

Martin Duque Anguiano

Martin Duque
Martin Duque (via Facebook)

Martin Duque was a 14-year-old freshman. His older brother Miguel, who graduated from Douglas High last year, shared the news via an Instagram post early Thursday morning.

Miguel posted a photo with a caption that reads in part: "Words can not describe my pain. I know you're in a better place."

Alyssa Alhadeff

Alyssa Alhadeff
Alyssa Alhadeff (via Facebook)

Alyssa Alhadeff was a 14-year-old freshman. cousin, Melissa Dibble, confirmed her death on Facebook Thursday morning.

Alyssa's mother, Lori Alhadeff, said her daughter loved soccer and creative writing.

"All she had to offer the world was love," Alhadeff's mother said.

Lori Alhadeff also expressed horror at the fact that such carnage happened at all.

"How do we allow a gunman to come into our children's school? How do they get through security? What security is there?" said Lori Alhadeff.

Gina Montalto

Gina Montalto
Gina Montalto (via Facebook)

Gina Montalto was 14-year-old freshman and served on the school's winter guard team. Color guard choreographer Andy Mroczek posted on his Facebook page.

Montalto's death was confirmed by her mother, Jennifer, on Facebook when she changed her profile picture to be waves crashing against rocks.

Support poured in through comments over the loss of her loved one.

A photo of Montalto was widely shared by her neighbor, Michael Citron, when she did not return home following the attack.

Montalto volunteered as a friend for kids with special needs, and she was on the color guard squad. An instructor called her "the sweetest soul ever."

Nicholas Dworet

Nicholas Dworet
Nicholas Dworet (via family)

Senior Nicholas Dworet's death was confirmed by his swim team on Facebook.

"It's with a heavy heart that I/We have to announce that our family member, teammate, TS Aquatics swimmer Nick Dworet has passed away," the post reads.

Dworet, 17, was planning to compete for the University of Indianapolis. Before his death, Facebook friends wrote: "We can't wait to see what you can achieve."

According to BBC News, Dworet's swim partner, Daria Chiarella, changed her Facebook profile picture to a selfie she took with him. The photo has prompted an outpouring support from friends and followers.

Peter Wang

Peter Wang
Peter Wang

Peter Wang, 15, was last seen on Wednesday wearing his gray ROTC uniform and holding a door open so other people could escape, said his cousin, Aaron Chen.

Another friend also tweeted about his death.

Joaquin Oliver

Joaquin Oliver
Joaquin Oliver (via Instagram)

Joaquin Oliver's death was confirmed by a Venezuelan journalist who was with the 17-year-old's family when they received the news.

Oliver's Instagram page has received an outpouring of support. Condolences were shared from friends and strangers as comments on his most recent photo.

He had just become a U.S. citizen.

Alaina Petty

Alaina Petty
Alaina Petty (via family)

Alaina Petty's great aunt, Claudette McMahon Joshi, wrote on Facebook that the 14-year-old was one of the victims of the massacre.

Deseret News published a statement from Alaina's family Thursday. The statement read in part:

"It is impossible to sum up all that Alaina was and meant to her family and friends. Alaina was a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her. Alaina loved to serve. She served her community through her participation in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas JROTC program and her countless hours of service as a volunteer for the Helping Hands program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Alaina was part of hundreds of volunteers that rushed to the most heavily impacted areas of Florida to clean up and help rebuild the lives of those devastated by Hurricane Irma."

Meadow Pollack

Meadow Pollack
Meadow Pollack

Meadow Pollack's father confirmed her death to the Palm Beach Post Thursday morning. Andrew Pollack said spent several hours searching for his daughter at local hospitals following the shooting.

Meadow, an, 18-year-old senior, planned to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, her father told the paper. Her Facebook account has been converted into a memorial page.

Luke Hoyer

Luke Hoyer
Luke Hoyer (Credit: Grant Cox)

Luke Hoyer's death was confirmed by his aunt, Toni Stroud Brownlee, on Facebook. According to Brownlee, authorities found the 15-year-old on the third floor of the school.

"This has devastated our family and we're all in shock and disbelief," she wrote. "Our hearts are broken. Luke was a beautiful human being and greatly loved."

Cara Loughran

Cara Loughran
Cara Loughran (via Facebook)

Cara Loughran's death was confirmed by a family friend, Tara Bazinsky.

Bazinsky originally shared a photo of the 14-year-old on Facebook in desperate search of help to find her. She later updated the post by writing in part: "Cara's parents were given the news no parent ever wants to hear at 2am. Please keep her family in your prayers. This is too horrible to even begin to process."

Carmen Schentrup

Carmen Schentrup
Carmen Schentrup (via Facebook)

Carmen Schentrup's death was reported by family members and friends on social media. Her cousin, Matt Brandow, called her "the smartest and most intelligible 16-year-old I've ever met."

According to the Broward County Public School system, Schentrup, 16, was a 2017 National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Helena Ramsey

Helena Ramsey
Helena Ramsey (via Facebook)

Helena Ramsey, 17, would have started college next year.

A family member, in a lengthy Facebook post, called her a "smart, kind hearted and thoughtful person."

"She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her. She was so brilliant and witty, and I'm still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone," Curtis Page Jr. wrote.

Alexander Schachter

Alexander Schachter
Alexander Schachter (via family)

Alexander Schachter, 14, was a freshman trombone and baritone player who played with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School marching band and orchestra, band director Alexander Kaminsky told the Sun-Sentinel.

The boy's mother died at an early age, the newspaper reported. An older brother who also attends the school survived the attack, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, there was a surviving hero. Colton Haab, 17, is in junior ROTC and used Kevlar sheets to shield other students.

"The Kevlar would slow the bullet down," Haab said. "I didn't think it would stop it, but it would definitely slow the bullet down to take it from a catastrophic to a life-saving kind of thing."

Haab had helped bring some 70 kids into the building where he was hiding. He said if the gunman came in, he and another friend swore they would try to take him down.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, there were also plenty of close calls. Some teenagers were just steps from the gunman.

"I saw confusion and panic in the faces of people that I went to school with, played rec sports with, and saw every single day of my life for the last four years," said senior Jack Haimowitz.

Alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, was charged Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder.


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