South Florida high school students want action, not just condolences

Students say massacre could have been prevented

PARKLAND, Fla. – Students who were inside a South Florida high school when 17 people were killed in a mass shooting told News4Jax the day after that the massacre could have been prevented.

They described Marjory Stoneman Douglas High as a quiet, peaceful school -- until gunfire erupted Wednesday afternoon.

"It was supposed be a special day -- Valentine’s Day. It was a day of love," junior Olivia Prochilo said. "I know one of the victims ... He had flowers in his hand and candy for his girlfriend."

School dismissal was nearing when students heard a fire alarm.

"We are standing in the field, like sitting ducks. Not knowing that there is a shooter in the school, shooting kids," Prochilo said. "We saw kids running toward us and shots had been fired ... We just ran as fast as we could."

Among the 17 dead was student Joaquin Oliver. 

"He was just one of my bros," senior Nick Vaccarezza said. 

"I saw him second period. The same day," senior Austin Lazar said. "I just can't believe it." 

Football coach Aaron Feis, a father, also lost his life. He’s being hailed as a hero.

"Apparently, he went in front of bullets and took a shot for someone," Lazar said.

Investigators said the gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had a gas mask, a high-powered rifle and plenty of ammunition. 

The two seniors said they knew him since middle school.

"This kid was a nutcase," Vaccarezza said. "Psychopath."

"I really feel like there were warnings," Lazar said. "I mean, the kid brought knives to school, got expelled. The school should've known. Even the teachers in middle school, back all the way in middle school, you knew the kid was just psycho. You knew it. It's not the students' fault. It's everyone's fault. It really is."

A day after, the teenagers said they want more than thoughts and prayers -- they want action. 

"I was getting sent videos of my classmates, people I go to school with, laying in their blood," Prochilo said. "Innocent people that just want to go to school and to learn. Not to get their lives taken by someone who just decided one day they are going to wake up and take a gun into a school and take 17 innocent lives."

The students said they're going to band together to make the community safer than ever by showing love, not hate, and spreading the word that something needs to change. 

Wow. Stoneman Douglas HS junior Olivia Prochilo makes some powerful points about the #Parkland shooting. Watch until the end.

Posted by WJXT4 Vic Micolucci on Thursday, February 15, 2018

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