NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two of the victims were coaches, one was a student who played trombone in the school band. Another proudly wore his ROTC uniform. Still another loved soccer. And most were very, very young. The gunman who opened fire at a Florida high school wiped out lives and left friends and family struggling to cope after America’s latest mass shooting.
At the first funeral for a victim of the Florida high school shooting, mourners packed the Star of David chapel on Friday to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.
Those outside Friday stood and strained to hear the voices chanting Jewish prayers and remembering the star soccer player as having “the strongest personality.” She was also remembered as a gifted writer with a memorable smile.
She grew up for a time in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and attended summer camp at Valley Chabad, which is run by Estie Orenstein.
“She was just a girl that was always smiling, happy, just had like that positive demeanor to her,” Orenstein told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “You wanted to be around her.”
The teen’s parents are calling for accountability.
“I just saw my daughter, cold as can be, shot in the heart, shot in the head, dead, cold as can be. She is gone,” her mother Lori Alhadeff said. “We need security now for all these children that have to go to school, we need action.”
A funeral was also being held Friday for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, a senior planning to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton.
Among the others killed was Gina Montalto who volunteered with children with special needs. Joaquin Oliver, a native of Venezuela, had recently become an American citizen and 35-year-old Scott Beigel, from Dix Hills, Long Island.
It was Beigel’s first year working at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He and his fiancée were about to start planning their wedding. He was killed trying to keep the gunman out a classroom.
Aaron Feis, 37, lived in East Islip, Long Island with his grandparents when he was a child. The coach at the school is being called a hero after he threw himself in front of students for a human shield.
“He was a giving kid, everybody loved him. What takes away some of the pain was he was a hero,” his grandfather, Raymond, said.
The family of 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg is heartbroken over the loss of the ninth grader killed. She had family in Commack and would visit often. Relative Bill Baron, of Commack, is sad and also angry.
“This president and these senators we have they’re a bunch of nothings. They do nothing,” Baron said. “She was a sweet little girl.”
Guttenberg’s funeral will be Sunday.
Authorities say Nikolas Cruz, a volatile 19-year-old who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, opened fire there Wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others.
Law enforcement officials tell CBS News that between 120 and 150 rounds were fired by Cruz. He has confessed to the killings and is being kept on suicide watch.
Cruz was ordered held without bond Thursday.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)