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'Died a hero', 'smiled all the time', 'brilliant and witty': The 17 victims of the Florida shooting

Tributes have been paid to each of the 17 victims of Wednesday’s mass shooting.

pjimage (44) Clockwise starting from top left: Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Aaron Feis and Nicholas Dworet. AP photos AP photos

WHEN A GUNMAN opened fire with an AR-15 at a large high school in south Florida, he killed both students and teachers alike.

Here is a look at the 17 people who authorities say died in the deadly shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland:

‘Died a hero’

Assistant football coach Aaron Feis was shot to death while selflessly shielding students from bullets. A tweet from the school football program ended: “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

Feis, 37, graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity, the team website said. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.

Among the youngest victims was Alyssa Alhadeff, an avid soccer player whose mother barged  into CNN’s camera demanding that President Donald Trump take action.

“President Trump, you say what can you do?” Lori Alhadeff said.

“You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot. This is not fair to our families and our children go to school and have to get killed.

Joaquin Oliver, 17, was known by his nickname “Guac,” short for “guacamole,” because many struggled to pronounce his given name.

“My friend will literally never get to say, ‘I graduated high school,’” said Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old who said they had been friends since freshmen year.

‘Beautiful inside and out’

Meadow Pollack was beautiful inside and out, her cousin Jake Maisner told the Sun-Sentinel. She was a senior and had planned to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, her father, Andrew Pollack, told the Palm Beach Post.

Chris Hixon, a 49-year-old married father of two and the school’s athletic director, wasn’t shy about jumping in wherever he was needed, said friend and one-time colleague Dianne Sanzari.

Geography teacher and cross-country coach Scott Beigel, 35, helped students enter a locked classroom to avoid the gunman, and paid for the brave act with his life.

Alaina Petty, 14, participated in the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, and spent countless hours volunteering for the “Helping Hands” program of her Mormon church. After Hurricane Irma struck Florida, she helped people clean up and rebuild their lives, her family said.

Ninth grader Jaime Guttenberg, 14, loved to dance and hoped to become an occupational therapist and mother, aunt Abbie Youkilis said.

‘One of the nicest people I knew’

Martin Duque, 14, was described by friend Isaac Briones as “one of the nicest people I knew”, adding “he was so caring”.

Gina Montalto was a 14-year-old freshman who was described as “a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered” by her mother Jennifer.

Nicholas Dworet, 17, had committed to swim for the University of Indianapolis. In a statement, UIndy swimming coach Jason Hite called Dworet an “energetic and very vibrant kind” who cheered for his soon-to-be university during a swimming meet last month.

Peter Wang, 15,  was last seen holding a door open for other students, his cousins Lin Chen and Aaron Chen told local media. ”He doesn’t care about popularity. He always liked to cheer people up. He is like the big brother everyone wished they had,” said Lin Chen.

Fifteen-year-old Luke Hoyer was a loving, sweet person who loved basketball and “smiled all the time,” his aunt Joan Cox said.

‘Brilliant and witty’

Carmen Schentrup, 16, was named one of 53 National Merit Scholarship Program semi-finalists in the county and a classmate tweeted “we all praised for her intelligence”.

Helena Ramsay, 17, was soft-spoken, but also smart and a go-getter, her cousin Sefena Cooper. ”She was so brilliant and witty, and I’m still wrestling with the idea that she is actually gone,” another friend wrote.

Trombone and baritone player Alex Schachter (14) was a “sweetheart of a kid,”according to his family.

Cara Loughran, 14, was an excellent student who loved the beach and her cousins, according to her family. An aunt, Lindsay Fontana, wrote on Facebook: “I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted.”

Comments are closed because the case remains before the courts, and the man charged has not yet been sentenced.

Read: ‘It was maybe 30 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours’: Irish family caught up in Florida attack

Read: FBI received tip off before Florida shooting but failed to stop teen from killing 17

Associated Foreign Press