The lives lost in the Florida school shooting

Students mourn during a community prayer vigil for the victims of the shooting. PHOTO: REUTERS

MIAMI, Florida (WASHINGTON POST) - Seventeen students and teachers were killed on Wednesday (Feb 14) in the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school.

Here are the stories of those who died.

Alyssa Alhadeff, 15

Alyssa loved soccer and creative writing, and "all she had to offer the world was love," her mother, Lori Alhadeff, wrote in a Facebook post that was shared by a family friend on Thursday.

In an interview with WSVN-TV, Alyssa's grandmother Vicki Alhadeff said her granddaughter was popular and athletic, adding that she was a big soccer player and ran track. Alyssa was a member of the South Florida United Youth Soccer Association and played for the Parkland Soccer Club.

"Alyssa Alhadeff was a loved and well respected member of our club and community," according to a post on the club's Facebook page. "Alyssa will be greatly missed."

In her Facebook post, Lori Alhadeff asked that Alyssa's friends to honour her by never giving up and "doing something fabulous" in their lives.

"A knife is stabbed in my heart," Lori Alhadeff wrote. "I wish I could of taken those bullets for you. I will always love you and your memory will live on forever."

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Nicholas, a senior, was a competitive swimmer who planned to attend Indiana University in the fall. He had committed to Indiana in the fall and was looking forward to joining the swim team in college, said Andre Bailey, who coached Nicholas for TS Aquatics in Tamarac, Florida.

Aaron Feis

According to a short biography on the Douglas football team's website, Aaron graduated from the school in 1999, where he played centre on the team. He returned to Douglas in 2002 and became head coach of the junior varsity team. He later coached the linemen for the JV and varsity teams and coordinated the players' college recruitment.

He had a wife and a daughter, according to the biography.

"He was a great guy," Douglas sophomore lineman Gage Gaynor told the Orlando Sentinel. "Everyone loved him. Shame he had to go like this. Always gave his all to making us better. Definitely learned a lot from him."

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," Guttenberg said.

Jaime was in the ninth grade; her older brother was also at the school at the time of the shooting and survived, 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. That's the kind of person she was. Caring, open, always smiling."

Guttenberg remembered her granddaughter's fun personality and said she was "just a very loving person."

"We have a history in our family of giving, of helping other people who just need help, no matter what," she said, noting that Jaime took time to volunteer and tried to help others.

Jaime's father, Fred, posted about his daughter on Facebook after the shooting, writing that his heart is "broken".

"We will be getting messages out later regarding visitation," he wrote at the end of the post. "Hugs to all and hold your children tight."

Luke Hoyer, 15

Luke loved basketball - he was a fan of Clemson University's team and played travel basketball. He also was looking forward to joining the football team at Douglas High School in the fall.

"He done growed like a weed over the summer," said his grandmother, Janice Stroud, who last saw her grandson over Christmas.

The once-little boy was now about 188cm tall and spent the time at his grandparent's house in South Carolina playing basketball in their yard with his cousins.

The kids played games, lovingly picked at one another and had a lot of fun over the holidays, said Stroud and her husband, John Eddie Stroud.

He always seemed to be smiling.

"He was just a considerate, sweet young boy," Janice Stroud said. "He was quiet, but he was just a great kid."

Hoyer was the youngest of three children. His sister just graduated from college and his brother is a college student."He was just an all-American kid who didn't deserve what he got," John Eddie Stroud said through tears.

The couple will head to Florida to do the unthinkable: help their daughter bury her son.

"Our daughter, she's just like any mother would be, just devastated," Janice said.

The couple said the family did not find out that Luke died until 1am.

"When you see this stuff on TV you don't realise what they're going through until you go through it," she said.

Cara Loughran

Cara was a freshman at Douglas High School. Her mother, Denise, was reunited with her 17-year-old son, Liam, within hours of the shooting, but they still hadn't heard from Cara. On Thursday, the family confirmed that Cara was among those killed.

Gina Montalto

Gina was a strong and loving girl who "brightened any room she entered," her family wrote in a post shared on social media.

"Our beautiful daughter, Gina Rose, was taken from us during the tragedy..." her family wrote in the post.

The first time Gina babysat for neighbour Chalmers McCahill's children she brought a colourful checklist to ask about the routine for her kids. She showed up early asked if it was okay to do her homework once the kids went to bed and always kept in touch with McCahill.

McCahill said that Gina had a "nurturing heart" and that her kids were always excited to see Gina.

"I just felt safe," McCahill, 35, said about leaving her kids, Mason, six, Drew, five, and Claire, one, with Gina.

"This child who kept our children safe..."

"We were all fortunate to witness the most caring part of her and the blessing she became to us all," she said.

Michelle Silverstone, 31, said one of Gina's first babysitting jobs was for her daughter, who is now eight years old. After Gina brought over a set of coloured pencils for colouring, all Silverstone's daughter wanted was the same coloured pencil set. And after knowing that Gina did the Colour Guard, Silverstone's daughter wanted to do it, too.

"She's just such a good girl," Silverstone said. "She's what I would aspire my daughter to be like."

McCahill told her children on Thursday before they went to school, that Gina is "now a beautiful angel."

Mason asked if "Miss Gina" went to heaven and she said "yes, buddy."

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