Three of the victims killed in the Florida school shooting on Wednesday had ties to New York and New Jersey, reports said.
The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland left 17 dead, including geography teacher Scott Beigel and football coach Aaron Feis, who both died trying to save students from accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, a former student.
According to Newsday, 35-year-old Beigel grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island, and his parents still live there. Beigel helped save students during the shooting by unlocking a classroom and blocking the door so Cruz could not get in, Kelsey Friend, one of those students, told “Good Morning America.”
“I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t,” she said. “When he opened the door, he had to relock it so we could stay safe, but he didn’t get a chance to.”
Newsday also reported that Feis, 37, lived in West Islip, Long Island, until his family moved to Parkland when he was 10. He graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 1999 and spent his entire coaching career at his alma mater.
Feis was killed while shielding students from gunfire. “He died a hero, and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,” the school’s football program tweeted.
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. 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 pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3
— MS Douglas Football (@MSDEagles) February 15, 2018
A third victim, Alyssa Alhadeff, lived in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, NorthJersey.com reported.
The 14-year-old’s family lived in Woodcliff Lake, which is about 30 miles outside New York City, from 2010 to 2014, when they moved to Florida.
During a vigil Thursday, Alhadeff’s mother Lori said her daughter wanted to be a lawyer and professional soccer player. The last time she saw her daughter was when she dropped her off at school Wednesday morning.
“I said, ‘I love you’ and that was the last time I saw her,” Lori Alhadeff told NBC News.
Suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, was taken into custody hours after leaving the scene of the shooting by mixing in with the fleeing students. He had been expelled from Stoneman Douglas in 2017 and legally purchased the AR-15 assault rifle used in the shooting.
He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The Parkland shooting was the 18th in a U.S. school this year.