Lives cut short

BUDDING DANCER: JAIME GUTTENBERG, 14
BUDDING DANCER: JAIME GUTTENBERG, 14
PROUD AMERICAN: JOAQUIN OLIVER, 17
PROUD AMERICAN: JOAQUIN OLIVER, 17
FATHER FIGURE: CHRIS HIXON, 49
FATHER FIGURE: CHRIS HIXON, 49
HERO COACH: AARON FEIS, 37
HERO COACH: AARON FEIS, 37

Seventeen students and teachers were killed on Wednesday in the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school. Here are the stories of some of those who died.

HERO COACH: AARON FEIS, 37 Mr Feis, who had a wife and a daughter, reportedly was the first to respond to the "Code Red" when the shooting began. Students said he was shot as he shielded several of them.

"I coached with him. My two boys played for him," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. "The kids in this community loved him, adored him."

Mr Aaron Feis' grandfather, Raymond, said he is not surprised his grandson died a hero. "Growing up, he was pretty amazing," Mr Raymond Feis said.

He said his grandson would allow people to tell the same stories or jokes over and over because he did not want to be disrespectful and say he had heard them before.



ELITE SWIMMER: NICHOLAS DWORET, 17

ELITE SWIMMER: NICHOLAS DWORET, 17 Nicholas was a competitive swimmer who planned to attend the University of Indianapolis in autumn on an athletic scholarship.

"He was a vibrant, energetic, confident kid," said Mr Jason Hite, the university's swim coach who had recruited Nick. "He was just the kind of kid you'd want on your team."

Nick, who specialised in freestyle events, had his eyes on the future: He dreamed of swimming for the Swedish national team in the Olympics, in honour of his mother, Annika, who is Swedish. His younger brother attended the same high school and was injured in Wednesday's attack, Mr Hite said.


BUDDING DANCER: JAIME GUTTENBERG, 14 Ethel Guttenberg described her granddaughter Jaime as fun, loving and beautiful. Jaime had been a dancer since she was a young girl, she said. "Since she was two years old. And loved every second of it," Mrs Guttenberg said.

Jaime was in the ninth grade; her older brother, who was also at the school at the time of the shooting, survived, Mrs Guttenberg said. "She was a lovely, giving, wonderful, wonderful young lady," she said of Jaime. "She was a wonderful, good kid. Anybody who ever met her loved her."


FATHER FIGURE: CHRIS HIXON, 49 The wrestling team huddled up at the start of practice on Thursday and started crying. They were all grieving the loss of their coach, Mr Chris Hixon. "He was a father figure to all of us," said Karlos Valentin, 18. "Being at practice without him it's just really really hard… it's just not the same."

Charles Reed, 16, said if he did not have a ride home, Mr Hixon would give him one. If the team did not have food to bring to the meet, Mr Hixon would bring it. "There was nothing he wouldn't do to help our team," Charles said.


PROUD AMERICAN: JOAQUIN OLIVER, 17 Joaquin became a US citizen last year, a moment of pride for his parents, who brought him to the US from Venezuela as a toddler.

In an Instagram post after the citizenship ceremony, Joaquin wrote: "MAMA WE MADE IT!!!! 14 years ago we move to this wonderful country and 14 years later we officially are citizens of the United States of America. Never been more proud."

Joaquin loved baseball, had a girlfriend and was embracing the final months before graduation.



LOYAL FRIEND: MEADOW POLLACK, 18 

LOYAL FRIEND: MEADOW POLLACK, 18 Like many seniors, Meadow was looking forward to graduation. She planned to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, said her longtime friend Amanda Perez.

Meadow was someone a friend could always count on, with a positive nature and the ability to make the best out of any situation, Amanda said.

"She always listened, and she always told you things that you needed to hear, not things you wanted to hear," she said.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 18, 2018, with the headline 'Lives cut short'. Print Edition | Subscribe