Community Issues

Tragedy Returns to Parkland with Students' Deaths

Two students die in apparent suicides, one year after mass shooting.


Just over a year since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, two students survived the shooting have died in apparent suicides less than a week apart.

The news has been devastating to a community still reeling from the February 14, 2018 shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Aliena was killed in the shooting tweeted out "17 + 2" with broken heart emoji. He says the student who died Sunday was a 16-year-old boy. Coral Springs Police confirmed they were investigating the death.

Last weekend, recent Stoneman Douglas graduate Sydney Aiello took her own like at the age of 19. Her mother told a local news station her daughter had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered from survivor's guilt after the shooting. Her mother says one of the victims, Meadow Pollack, was one of her daughter's best friends.

Sadly, the Hartford Courant reports that Jeremy Richman, the father of Sandy Hook School shooting victim Avielle Richman, was found dead of an apparent suicide early Monday morning . Avielle was one of 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 shooting. Six staff members at the school were also killed.

According to the New York Times , Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University who helped lead a suicide prevention event in Parkland last year, has developed a protocol of questions that anyone, not just medical professionals, can ask to identify people who may be at risk of suicide.

Dr. Gerstenhaber said making suicide more preventable requires ending the stigma surrounding mental health and allow people who are suffering to speak up on their own.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, or are concerned about a friend or loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

The Allegheny County Crisis Intervention Hotline is 1-888-796-8226.

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