Families, friends gather as more loved ones are laid to rest in wake of school shooting
(PARKLAND, Fla.) — A 17-year-old boy whose last social media post said his girlfriend was “a greater blessing than I could ever imagine” will be mourned at a funeral on Saturday, the latest service for the 17 people killed in a shooting massacre at a Florida high school.
Joaquin Oliver was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student allegedly opened fire Wednesday. It’s the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26.
Oliver was born in Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen in January 2017, according to ABC affiliate WPLG-TV. He was an avid fan of Venezuela’s national soccer team, American football, basketball, Florida State University and R&B artist Frank Ocean.
His last social media post was dedicated to his girlfriend, according to WPLG-TV.
His funeral will take place Saturday afternoon.
Funeral services have already been held for some other victims. The service for Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, who played soccer, was held in North Lauderdale on Friday morning. The funeral for Meadow Pollack, 18, a college-bound senior, took place in Parkland on Friday afternoon.
There have been multiple community vigils and religious services in Broward County in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting.
Life Fellowship Church in Coral Springs organized a prayer and peace walk around the community Saturday morning. Alexander-Levitt Funerals and Cremations in Tamarac will host a candlelight vigil Saturday evening. First United Methodist Church in Coral Springs will hold prayer services Sunday morning. And Tomorrow’s Rainbow, a nonprofit in Coconut Creek, is hosting candlelight vigils and offering bereavement counselors every night through March 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. ET.
Investigators believe approximately 150 shots were fired during Wednesday’s attack, a law enforcement source told ABC News. In addition to the 17 killed, more than a dozen people were injured. As of Saturday, the hospitals have one patient in critical condition and four patients in fair condition.
The Broward Education Foundation, which raises money for the public school system, has set up an official page on crowdfunding site GoFundMe for those wanting to make monetary donations to the affected individuals and families. There are other pages set up for specific victims and their loved ones.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said they have removed campaigns with no direct connection to the victims in the shooting or their families.
“We guarantee the money raised by those campaigns will be transferred to the right person,” Whithorne told ABC News. “We will continue to monitor the platform and will stay in close touch with Florida officials.”
The alleged gunman in Wednesday’s rampage, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He is being held in a Broward County jail without bond.
Cruz had been expelled from the high school last year for unspecified disciplinary reasons, authorities said. He allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle that he legally purchased within the past year from a federally licensed dealer, law enforcement officials told ABC News.
Meanwhile, more than 100 protesters stood outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday night, demanding action on gun control following the school shooting in Florida. Among the crowd of demonstrators were friends of some of the students and faculty members who were killed at Marjory Stoneman; Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; and relatives of those fatally shot at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“Children are dead because of you,” Connolly said of the NRA, according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.
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