What seemed like a normal day at school
On February 14th 2018, students and staff went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, like any other day.
They never expected such a tragedy to occur…
Former student, Nikolas Cruz, had one idea in mind. After being expelled from the school, staff had been warned about Cruz’s expulsion for “disciplinary reasons”, and that he was a risk to student safety.
On a mission
Nikolas Cruz arrived at the school seeking revenge. One staff member saw him outside, and hesitated to call “Code Red”.
Alarms were only raised once he was half-way through his six-minute rampage.
Cruz entered the school’s Freshman Building, mostly filled with freshman students, at around 2.21pm. He unpacked his rifle in the stairs, before bumping into a student, Chris McKenna.
The gunman chillingly told McKenna, “You better get out of here. Things are going to start getting messy”. He then ran to Aaron Feis, a coach and security monitor to alert him.
Cruz fired a stream of bullets through the first-floor hallway, shattering windows and shooting through doors.
He murdered 11 people and injured 13 others. He then ran to the second floor, where he attacked his last 6 victims.
While these horrors were happening, one student risked his life to save those of his classmates.
Anthony Borges, just 15 years old, faced serious injuries protecting his friends, who of course didn’t know what to do in that situation.
Anthony Borges was shot five times during the February 14th school shooting.
He barricaded a classroom door and used his body as a human shield as bullets flew from all directions.
Students in admiration
One of the students who Anthony saved, and also his best friend, Carlos Rodriguez, spoke to Good Morning America about his brave actions.
He told them, “None of us knew what to do, so he took the initiative to just save his other classmates”
A proud but worried family
Anthony thought he was going to die, and his family were even more concerned. His father told ABC News, “Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too”. He added, “He’s my hero. I only ask that people pray for him”.
The gunman escaped
Nikolas Cruz managed to escape in the crowds of students fleeing the scene. He successfully managed to blend in and escape, unnoticed. He ditched the rifle in a stairwell before leaving the school.
Cruz seems unphased
After the mass shooting, Cruz headed to Subway for a drink and then McDonalds for a late lunch. The fact he seemed so unphased and attempted to continue the rest of his day normally disturbed everyone all over the world.
It’s at McDonalds that he was apprehended after being spotted by a Broward County officer.
Everything seemed normal
As Cruz seemed so unphased, the officer was unsure on whether he was the suspect or not.
Officer Michael Leonard said after arresting Nikolas Cruz, “He looked like a typical high school student, and for a quick moment I thought, “Could this be the person I need to stop?””.
Once a safe community
The whole world was devastated by the news of the school shooting. In particular, the Florida community, as Parkland was considered the safest city in the state.
Drills in place
Due to school shootings throughout the country, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had already put into practice active shooter drills. The school even had an armed officer on campus!
Reigniting the debate on gun safety
None of these practices were enough to stop the mass shooting, and it reignited the debate on gun safety. “No More Guns” was chanted throughout the candlelight vigils and over a thousand people showed up to funerals in the days after. Student survivors took to social media to voice their thoughts, and became activists for gun safety legislation.
An organization was created
Just days after the attack, surviving students bravely founded Never Again MSD, an organization and political action committee. Along with other students, they created the March for Our Lives, a demonstration in support of gun violence prevention.
Students from all over the country took part in this revolutionary event.
Nikolas Cruz was charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in 2021. He pleaded guilty to a Florida courtroom, and faces a minimum of life in prison and maximum of the death penalty.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, while Cruz’s defense are asking for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On the road to recovery
Broward County sheriff Scott Israel visited the brave teen in hospital, and posted to Facebook and Twitter, “The Sheriff was honored to visit Anthony Borges,15, in the hospital. Anthony was shot five times. Fortunately, he is recovering, but has a long road ahead with more surgeries needed. Please join us in praying for the swift recovery of Anthony and all others from #StonemanDouglas”.
Covered in bullet wounds
The road to recovery will be long, as he was shot in the back and the legs. Weeks after being shot, he fell critically ill with an intestinal infection.
Since the shooting, he has had several operations, fourteen in fact, and though he is out of intensive care, still has trouble breathing.
The world was shook by the news of the shooting, and of course, touched by Anthony Borges’ bravery.
He has been flooded with boxes and boxes of letters from strangers thanking him, some people even wrote from Venezuela, the family’s home country.
Speaks out at trial
Anthony Borges spoke at the trial that will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will get executed or sent down for life.
He showed his gunshot wounds to the courts, and spoke about his numerous surgeries. He was one of the many former students to testify in court in July 2022.