Another school shooting in the United States has left the country in a collective mourning after a young man armed with an AR-15 assault rifle shot and killed 17 students and administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday.
For Colombia, this latest school shooting hits close to home as the daughter of Colombian migrants originally from Bogotá, is a student that survived the attack at the high school. The student, Nicole Suárez, was locked inside a classroom with 40 classmates, per a report from Colombian news site Las 2 Orillas. She has been attending the high school for a year, it added.
Suárez told Colombian media that she was out in the hallways when the shooting began and had to race to get into a classroom.
“We were in class when, all of a sudden, a fire alarm sounded,” Suárez told Colombia’s Caracol Radio. “Everyone was under the stairs when it happened. I saw a lot of people running and we heard the sound of the gun, so we knew that something was happening. I returned to my classroom but it was locked so I went into another class and we closed the door and stayed low against the walls.”
According to text messages published by Caracol, Nicole sent a horrifying set of back-and-forth of messages between her and her father. At one point she alerted her father that she believed the shooter was on the floor of the room she and her classmates were hiding in.
“He is outside my door,” she texted before sending another message. “I love you so much.”
After an hour of hiding, Suárez and her classmates were finally able to leave when police entered the room and told them to run outside. Suárez said in her radio interview that the children had to run over dead bodies of their classmates to leave through the front door.
Police arrested Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was expelled, in relation to the shootings. He is currently being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and, according to the New York Times, has been connected to a white supremacist group in the U.S.
The massacre is one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.