For a group of six friends, Valentine’s Day was supposed to be the day they’d play some basketball together upon returning home from school, just like any other day.
Instead, at 2:21pm, fires were shot, instantly making that day unlike any other.
One of the boys named Jonathon instinctively dropped to the ground of his history classroom as soon as he heard the gun shots. He was at the centre of it all, so close to the shooter that he could smell the gunpowder. So close to the shooter that he could see one of his classmates covered with blood, another not moving.
According to AP, the other five, Joey, Ethan, John, Sam, and Noah, all eventually fled the school and escaped the threatening violence. Although their safety was now guaranteed, they couldn’t help but assume the worst of their sixth member, who they knew had a class at the time of the shooting.
At 2:33pm, Joey’s dad sent him a text.
“Police there?” he asked.
“Everything is… Swat… Cops w (sic) rifles,” Joey responded.
“You ok still… I see them letting kids out,” Joey’s father continued.
“Not out yet,” said Joey.
“Ok. As long as u r (sic) safe,” said his father.
It’s the type of text message exchange every parent dreads, but for most Marjory Stoneman Douglas High parents, it was this kind of assurance of safety they were all hoping for.
Though a sigh of relief for Joey’s father, Jonathon’s mother was worried.
Listen to: Why Trump’s refusing to talk about gun laws. (Post continues after audio.)
Jonathon stayed glued to the floor, too scared to reach for his phone on his desk. It wasn’t until the students in that history class were finally discovered by policemen that Jonathon saw the text messages from his mother.
“R U (sic) ok???” she wrote. “Is there a shooter???”
“Julia’s scared,” she continued. “I saw cops… Lock doors.”
“A lot of sirens… Yep,” replied Jonathon.
“You ok???” his mother asked again.
“Yep… Bad service,” replied Jonathon.
“They have the shooter,” she confirmed.
“Good… Still in room… Can’t talk… I’m good,” said Jonathon.
In a group chat, Jonathon later opened messages from his best friends, with Noah writing, “R u (sic) OK. Bro. R u (sic) OK… I’m traumatised… Tell me ur (sic) OK.”
“Im OK, 3 people shot in my class. Im OK tho (sic),” one of the responses read, written by Ethan.
The next day, the six boys attended a counselling session together before regrouping at Jonathon’s house like any other day. But again, unlike most days filled with Xbox, soccer, and basketball, the friends simply held each other.
“I love you, man,” they said to one another.