Their stories: 'Lives taken too soon' - the 17 victims of Florida's high school shooting (+ photo gallery)

From a coach who shielded students from gunfire to a promising Olympic hopeful, the stories of the victims have emerged after 17 people were killed in a US high school yesterday.

As the school day came to an end for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida yesterday the fire alarm went off, sending them into the hallways.

But as students began evacuating suspected gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, opened fire killing 17 and wounding more than a dozen others. 

As he appeared in court today the victims identities were confirmed. 

These are their stories.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Jaime Guttenberg.
Jaime Guttenberg. Source: Facebook

First victim to be identified. Her father Fred took to Facebook last night to express his sorrow.

"My heart is broken," he wrote.

"Jennifer Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son, Jesse lost his sister.

"I am broken as I write this trying to figure out houw my family gets through this. We appreciate all of the calls and messages and we apologize for not reacting to everyone individually.

"Jen and I will be figuring things out today and so we ask that you respect out privacy. We will be getting messages out later regarding visitation. Hugs to all and hold your children tight."

She attended Broward school with her younger brother who survived and reportedly rushed home afterwards.

Scott Beigel.
Scott Beigel.

Scott Beigel, 35

Geography teacher and cross country coach at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It's reported he was shot dead while trying to lock the door of his classroom again after letting a group of fleeing students in to hide.

Gina Montalto.
Gina Montalto.

Gina Montalto, 14

Described as "kind, caring, always smiling and wanting to help."

Gina, a student at the high school died late on Wednesday night (local time) from her injuries. She was a member of the school's winter guard team, which was meant to perform at a regional event in Tampa this coming weekend.

Meadow Pollack.
Meadow Pollack.

Meadow Pollack, 18

She was a senior at the high school and preparing for university.

Meadow was confirmed dead on Thursday (local time), after her father was at the school on Wednesday (local time) showing her photo around in the hope that she would be found alive.

Nicholas Dworet.
Nicholas Dworet.

Nicholas Dworet, 17

A senior at the high school, Nicholas would be celebrating his 18th birthday next month.

He was an aspiring Olympic swimmer, and had set his sights on competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Nick's devastated girlfriend is among those grieving his death.

A family friend described him as a "charismatic young man."

He had recently committed to joining the University of Indianapolis swim team as a freshman.

In a statement on Thursday (local time), University of Indianapolis President Robert Manuel said the school plans to find ways to help Nick's family.

"Nick's death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home."

Cara Loughran.
Cara Loughran.

Cara Loughran, 14 

One of the youngest victims of the shooting. She was missing on Wednesday after the shooting and her mother Denise, and father rushed to the hotel where parents were told to go to reunite with their children in the hope that they would find her alive.

A grieving neighbour confirmed her death on Thursday.

"It is with a heavy heart and much regret that I write these words. Our next-door neighbour's daughter was one of the lives taken too soon by a senseless act of violence," wrote Danny Vogel on Facebook.

"RIP Cara, and fly with the angels. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life."

Martin Duque (right).
Martin Duque (right). Source: Instagram

Martin Duque, 14

Martin was a freshman at Stoneman Douglas High School. His older brother Miguel, a Douglas graduate, expressed his sorrow on Instagram.

"Words cannot describe my pain. I love brother Martin, you'll be missed buddy. I know you’'e in a better place." 

Alyssa Alhadeff.
Alyssa Alhadeff. Source: Facebook

Alyssa Alhadeff, 15

Alyssa was missing on Wednesday after the shooting. Her family frantically searched for her only to learn of her death the next day.

Her mother Lori Alhadeff told WSVN that her daughter had a promising future.

"Alyssa was so smart and beautiful, helpful, creative, outgoing.

"She had such a bright future, she was in all high honours classes – Spanish, Algebra – and she’s only a freshman."

Alyssa was also a soccer play, described as a "loved and well-respected member of our club and community," by the Parkland Soccer Club.

"I know Alyssa is in Heaven with God, and she's safe there.

Joaquin Oliver.
Joaquin Oliver. Source: Instagram

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Joaquin became a US citizen in 2017 after moving to America from Venezuela when he was a child.

The student known as "Guac" among his friends died in the shooting on Wednesday.

Aaron Feis.
Aaron Feis. Source: Facebook

Aaron Feis

An assistant football coach with the Stoneman Douglas team, Aaron is being hailed as a hero for sacrificing his life to save a student during the shootings.

"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," wrote MS Douglas Football on Twitter.

Chris Hixon.
Chris Hixon. Source: Facebook

Chris Hixon, 49

Chris was the athletic director and wrestling coach at Stoneman Douglas.

Fellow athletic directors across Broward County expressed condolences at the news of his death.

"Chris is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He would give you the shirt off his back. He does so much. That is terrible that it would happen to anybody. It is so senseless," said Dan Jacob, athletic director at Coral Springs High School.

Alex Schachter.
Alex Schachter.

Alex Schachter, 14

Alex was a freshman at the high school, and played trombone in the school marching band.

Alex's mother died when he was five, and his older brother who also attends the high school survived the shooting.

His father Max Schachter told the New York Times Alex often played basketball with friends and was "a sweetheart of a kid".

Alex "just wanted to do well and make his parents happy," said his father.

Alaina Petty.
Alaina Petty.

Alaina Petty, 14

Alaina's great aunt Claudette McMahon Joshi wrote on Facebook, "There are no hashtags for moments like this, only sadness".

"Our hearts are with them and all the families touched by this tragedy."

Alaina was a member of the Latter Day Saints and her family said in a statement that they are "heartbroken" by their loss.

Peter Wang.
Peter Wang.

Peter Wang, 15

A freshman at Stoneman Douglas High School where he was a member of the ROTC (army training) program.

Peter's cousin Lin Chen said he was "so funny, caring and selfless."

She said a friend of his told her Peter was holding the door to let other students out before him.

"He is so brave. He is the person who is genuinely kind to everyone. He doesn’t care about popularity. He always s liked to cheer people up."

She said Peter has two younger brothers, aged 11 and five, and his parents were too upset to talk.

Luke Hoyer.
Luke Hoyer.

Luke Hoyer, 15

A freshman at the high school who loved basketball and eating Chicken McNuggets and macaroni and cheese, will be remembered as a "happy-go-lucky kid".

Luke's cousin Grant took to Facebook in "disbelief" that Luke was one of the 17 killed in the shooting.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the Hoyer family and all the other victims families involved in this tragedy."

Helena Ramsey.
Helena Ramsey. Source: Facebook

Helena Ramsey, 17

Helena will be remembered as a "smart, kind hearted and thoughtful person".

Family member, Curtis Page Jr. took to Facebook to pay tribute to Helena.

"She was deeply loved and loved others even more so.

"Though she was somewhat reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanour brought the best out in all who knew her."

He said she would have started university next year.

Carmen Schentrup.
Carmen Schentrup.

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Carmen was a promising student and a 2018 National Merit Scholar semifinalist, before her life was cut short on yesterday.

Victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.


Maryland warehouse shooter may have been mentally ill

Investigators have found evidence that the woman who killed three people and wounded others before killing herself at a Maryland drugstore warehouse was suffering from a mental illness, a law enforcement official said Friday.

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told news reporters Friday that the suspect, 26-year-old Snochia Moseley of Baltimore County, had been diagnosed with a mental illness in 2016. "That's as far as I'll go with it," he said, declining to give any more details on her mental state.

He said in recent weeks Moseley had become increasingly agitated, and relatives had been concerned for her well-being.

Gahler said she used a handgun that she legally purchased in March to fire a total of 13 rounds on Thursday morning, and died after shooting herself twice in the head — once with a grazing wound and again with the fatal shot.

He also gave more details about how the violence unfolded.

Moseley had been hired for the holiday season and had been working there for less than two weeks. She entered the building at 6:30 a.m. As people lined up to come in the building, Gahler said she cut in line and words were exchanged, but it was a "little incident." She left around 7:21 a.m. Moseley, who had worked security jobs in the past, drove to her White Marsh home and got a handgun, pepper spray and handcuffs. She arrived back at the parking lot around 8:35 a.m. and entered the front door around 8:52 a.m.

He says she pulled a hooded shirt over her head and began shooting, striking a man outside the building. Inside, where there were about 65 people, she fatally struck two women and shot three other people who have survived. She shot herself twice before police arrived, he said — once with a grazing wound and then with the fatal shot. She was already down when officers arrived and an officer moved her from the scene, not knowing that she was the shooter, he said.

Gahler said Moseley used a Glock 9mm handgun she had legally purchased in March. When asked how she could legally buy a gun after being diagnosed with a mental illness, officials said it had not been determined that she had a "propensity for violence to self or others."

The sheriff said the motive is still a mystery and may remain so.

"There's just no way to make sense of something so senseless," he said. "There's still a lot of questions that we don't know."

A witness said Thursday that the shootings followed an argument and sent survivors screaming and running in all directions from the Rite Aid distribution center in northeastern Maryland. Others nearby helped the wounded, and one person tied blood-soaked jeans around an injured man's leg trying to stanch the bleeding.

The attack came nearly three months after a man with a shotgun attacked a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five staff members. Authorities accused Jarrod W. Ramos of attacking The Capital Gazette because of a longstanding grudge against the paper. It came less than a year after a fatal workplace shooting less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the warehouse, in which five were shot, three fatally.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said that, unfortunately, shooting like this are "becoming a too-often occurrence" in the nation.

Authorities respond to a shooting in Harford County, Md., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.   Authorities say multiple people have been shot in northeast Maryland in what the FBI is describing as an "active shooter situation."  (Jerry Jackson /The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Source: Associated Press



Newborn babies stabbed

A woman stabbed five people — including three newborn babies — early Friday inside a New York City home that was apparently being used as a neighborhood nursery and then slashed her own wrist, police said.

All of those wounded in the attack, which happened before 4 a.m., were hospitalized but expected to survive. The 52-year-old suspect was in police custody.

No immediate charges were filed, and police said the motive was under investigation.

Investigators were trying to piece together what happened inside the building, a three-story, multifamily townhouse in a neighborhood popular with Chinese immigrants in the Flushing section of Queens. Among the questions was whether the place was operating as an unlicensed child-care facility.

Police responding to a 911 call discovered 3-day-old girl and a 1-month-old girl who had been stabbed in the abdomen, and a 20-day-old girl with cuts to her ear, chin and lip. The father of one of the children and a woman who worked there were also stabbed, police said.

A butcher knife and meat cleaver were found at the scene.

The woman suspected in the attack was discovered bleeding and unconscious in the basement, and after officers applied a tourniquet, she regained consciousness and was taken to the hospital, police said.

State records indicate that a business called Mei Xin Care Inc. was registered at the address, but there was no listed phone number for that company.

Police tape at crime scene Source: 1 NEWS



127 dead after Tanzania ferry capsizes

Hundreds of solemn people watched Friday as body after body was pulled from a capsized ferry that Tanzanian authorities said was badly overcrowded and upended in the final stretch before reaching shore. The official death toll was 127 but horrified witnesses feared that would rise as a second day of searching neared an end.

President John Magufuli urged calm in the East African country with a history of deadly maritime disasters. And a criminal investigation began.

The MV Nyerere's capacity was 101 people but the ferry had been overloaded when it capsized Thursday afternoon, the government's Chief Secretary John Kijazi told reporters. He said those responsible will face charges.

At least 40 people had been rescued, he said, but the number on Friday barely rose. Dozens of security forces and volunteers wearing gloves and face masks had resumed work at daybreak after suspending efforts overnight, hauling bodies into wooden boats.

"More than 200 people are feared dead," based on accounts from fishermen and other witnesses, because passengers had been returning from a busy market day, Tanzania Red Cross spokeswoman Godfrida Jola told The Associated Press. "But no one knows" just how many people were on board.

Tanzanian ferries often carry hundreds of passengers and are overcrowded, and shifts in weight as people move to disembark can become deadly. Images from the scene showed the ferry's exposed underside not far from shore.

Bodies were lined up on plastic sheeting as hundreds of people pressed near the water's edge, watching the search efforts.

Pope Francis and a number of African leaders expressed shock and sorrow.

"His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing," the condolence telegram said, according to the Vatican.

The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.

Worried residents on Friday waited for any word of survivors.

"We try to make calls to friends, relatives," a local guide, Paschal Phares, told the AP. He recalled how crowded his trip on the aging ferry had been last month: "Most of us were standing up. It was full."

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where passenger boats are often said to be old and in poor condition.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

More than 300 people were on board the ferry on Lake Victoria in Tanzania when disaster struck just metres from shore. Source: 1 NEWS

Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

Rescuers retrieve a body from the water near Ukara Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. The death toll rose above 100 after the passenger ferry MV Nyerere capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania state radio reported Friday, while a second day of rescue efforts raced the setting sun. (AP Photo)
Source: Associated Press

UK hits back after EU trashes May's Brexit plan

The British government on Friday accused the European Union of slamming the handbrake on Brexit negotiations, after the bloc said Prime Minister Theresa May's blueprint was unworkable.

European Council President Donald Tusk said bluntly at a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on Thursday that parts of May's plan simply "will not work," while French President Emmanuel Macron called pro-Brexit U.K. politicians "liars" who had misled the country about the costs of leaving the 28-nation bloc.

A rattled May insisted that her plan was the only one on the table — and that Britain was prepared to walk away from the EU without a deal if it was rejected.

The rebuff sparked British headlines saying May had been "humiliated," and a strong response from the U.K. government.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab accused the EU of rejecting Britain's proposals without offering "credible alternatives" and said the bloc had "yanked up the handbrake" on negotiations.

"For the negotiations to go forward they're going to have to take their hand off the handbrake," he said.

May's Downing St. office said the prime minister would make a televised statement on the Brexit talks on Friday afternoon. There was no indication of what she planned to say.

The rocky summit dashed British hopes of a breakthrough in stalled divorce talks, with just six months to go until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.

The judgment of British newspapers was brutal. The broadly pro-EU Guardian said May had been "humiliated." The conservative Times of London said: "Humiliation for May as EU rejects Brexit plan."

The Brexit-supporting tabloid Sun branded bloc leaders "EU dirty rats," accusing "Euro mobsters" Tusk and Macron of "ambushing" May.

Despite all the heated British rhetoric, the EU's position is not new. May's "Chequers plan" — named for the prime minister's country retreat where it was hammered out in July — aims to keep the U.K. in the EU single market for goods, but not services, in order to ensure free trade with the bloc and an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

EU officials have been cool on the plan from the start, saying Britain can't "cherry-pick" elements of membership in the bloc without accepting all the costs and responsibilities.

Yet British politicians and diplomats were taken aback by Tusk's blunt dismissal of the Chequers plan on Thursday — and by his light-hearted Instagram post showing Tusk and May looking at a dessert tray and the words: "A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries."

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller said British officials shouldn't have been surprised.

Miller said the EU had "made it very clear where they stand and the U.K. has been so focused on its own infighting that they actually have not been listening."

"How can (May) have been so badly advised? It stinks of incompetence, the whole thing, when the moment of reality is only four weeks away," Miller told the BBC.

Tusk said Thursday that an EU summit on Oct. 18 and 19 would be the moment of truth, when an agreement on divorce terms and the outlines of future trade would be sealed, or would fail.

The biggest single obstacle to a deal is the need to maintain an open Irish border. Failing to do so could disrupt the lives of people and business on both sides, and undermine Northern Ireland's hard-won peace.

Britain and the EU have agreed on the need for a legally binding backstop to guarantee there is no return to customs posts and other border checks. But Britain rejects the EU's proposed solution, which would keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc's customs union while the rest of the U.K. leaves.

May said that would "divide the United Kingdom into two customs territories." She said Britain "will be bringing forward our own proposals shortly" about how to break the impasse.

Dealing with the EU is only part of May's problem. Her Chequers plan also faces opposition from pro-Brexit members of her own Conservative Party, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who say it would keep Britain tethered to the bloc, unable to strike new trade deals around the world.

The Salzburg summit has given them new energy. When the Conservatives meet for their annual conference on Sept. 30, they plan to push for May to ditch the Chequers plan, or face a challenge to her leadership.

Pro-EU politicians don't like the Chequers plan either, saying it will cut the U.K.'s vast services sector out of the single market.

Conservative lawmaker Stephen Crabb said that May — assailed from all sides — should keep her nerve.

"The first rule is, don't panic," he told the BBC. "One of the outcomes the EU leaders wanted from yesterday was for Britain to go away, push the panic button and re-think, but the prime minister needs to stick to her guns."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and British Prime Minister Theresa May wait for the beginning of the plenary session of the informal EU summit in Salzburg, Austria, Thursday, September 20, 2018. Source: Associated Press