Second Parkland shooting survivor commits suicide, days after another student killed herself
The death has prompted leaders in the community to jump into action and call for additional mental health resources to be dispatched
A second survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting on February 14, 2018, that initially claimed 17 lives has killed himself, taking the toll up 19. The suicide was confirmed by the Coral Springs police, though they have not released the victim's name.
According to the Daily Mail, the victim was a male student and died of "an apparent suicide" on the night of Saturday, March 23. He was in the 10th grade and was a student of Stoneman Douglas at the time of the shooting, but police have refused to confirm if his death is linked to it. Like the previous victim, he is also believed to have died from a gunshot wound.
His suicide comes just a week after Sydney Aiello, another one of the survivors of the shooting, took her own life last Sunday, March 17. Syndey had lost her best friend, Meadow Pollock, during the February 14 massacre, and reportedly suffered from 'survivor's guilt' and post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath. Sydney reportedly graduated from Marjory Stoneman just one month after gunman Nicolas Cruz opened fire inside the campus and killed 17 of her peers and went on to study at the Florida Atlantic University. However, her parents said she struggled to attend classes because she was afraid of being inside a classroom.
But she never sought out help, according to her parents. A June 2018 post she made on Facebook even seemed like an obvious cry for help, with Sydney paying tribute to other victims of suicide such as Robin Williams, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain and writing, "Sometimes you need to check on those who seem the strongest."
Her death saw Meadow's family come out to express their heartbreak at having to bury yet another Parkland teenager. "It was devastating to bury another beautiful young person in Parkland today. Our community is going through tragedy again. Please keep the Aiello Family in your prayers. Rest in peace, Sydney. Please take care of my sister," wrote Meadow's brother, Hunter Pollack.
Meadow's father, Andrew Pollack, who has become an advocate for gun control following the attack, similarly said that his daughter and Sydney were friends for a "long, long time" and "heart goes out to those poor, poor parents," adding, "killing yourself is not the answer."
The Miami Herald reported that this second suicide has spurred Florida's emergency management director and former Parkland state rep Jared Moskowitz into calling for the state Legislature to dispatch more mental health resources for the Marjory Stoneman community. Local leaders are stepping up to do all they can as well, with more than 60 school, county, city, child services, and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists getting together for an emergency meeting.
Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Alaina Petty who was killed in the shooting, said the school district would be giving parents the 'Columbia Protocol,' a set of six questions such as 'Have you wished you were dead or wished you could go to sleep and not wake up?' and 'Have you been thinking about how you might kill yourself' which they can ask their children. Based on the responses, the questioner can then determine what and how much help the person assessed needs.