Hundreds hold vigil for victims of South Florida school shooting
PARKLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - At least 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil Thursday night for the 17 people killed in a Florida school shooting, some of the mourners sobbing openly as the victims' names were read aloud.
"Each name was like my heart skipped a beat," Bryan Herrera said.
The 17-year old soccer player said he initially hadn't planned on attending the vigil.
"I didn't think I could handle it," he said.
A sea of candlelight could be seen at the Parkland Amphitheater, as the community mourned for the victims and their families.
"Some of my friends will never get to see their brothers and sisters ever again," said Stoneman Douglas student, Marissa Vacirca, as tears streamed down her face. "It was one of the worst days of my life. The worst day."
Vacirca said she thought it was a drill.
"I thought it was just a drill and the next thing I know, it's my reality. People are dying on the floor above me."
Dressed in the school's red color, some held flowers while others wielded signs asking for action to fight school violence, including gun control. At one point during the vigil, some in the crowd began shouting, "No more guns! No more guns!"
Shay Makinde, 16, fought back tears for the friends he tried to save but could not. The junior pulled fleeing students from the hallway into a classroom. He turned to grab Joaquin Oliver but it was too late. The vigil "made me see my friend again and see him get shot and see his body on the floor."
"I have new friends in a senior community who lost their granddaughter. It's very sad, you know? It's not fair. It's too early. Fourteen years old!" said Peter Arango.
Arango brought his dog, "Pumpkin," to the vigil, hoping to be a comfort to others.
"The people like that. She's willing to let them do anything they want to her. She's a good dog."
The vigil ended with a request for everyone to write one specific act of good that they would perform in the coming days and weeks as a way to channel the raw emotions of the night into something positive.
The shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Some information taken from wire sources.