Over 1,500 Attend Funeral of 14-Year-Old Florida School Shooting Victim Alaina Petty
Over 1,500 mourners, including Gov. Rick Scott, attended the funeral at Alaina’s church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Coral Springs, Florida, to say their final farewell to the freshman student, according to the Associated Press.
Remembered as “patient and loving,” members of the Petty family spoke to the crowd about the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps member whose coffin was draped with the American flag.
“It’s impossible to sum up all that Alaina is and all that she means to her family and friends,” grieving father Ryan Petty said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“You could not escape her innate sense right and wrong, but you never felt that she was judging you,” he said about his daughter who joined other Mormon youth to help with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Irma in September.
Adding, “She just wanted to be your friend.”
On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old walked onto the campus of the school in Parkland, Florida, armed with what police say was a military-style semi-automatic rifle and countless magazines, and killed at least 17 people, police allege.
It was the latest mass shooting in the United States, and shows that the gun violence epidemic can strike anywhere: Last year, Parkland, a Fort Lauderdale suburb, was named the safest city in Florida by The National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade association.
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Alaina’s sister Meghan also shared words about her late loved one at the funeral.
“The thing I want to say about what happened to her is that it was a very ugly thing, an act committed by one person,” she said. “But if you look around the people who are here, there are thousands more that are doing something really, really beautiful.”
Brother Ian said: “The thing I learned most from Alaina…how to be patient and loving, how to care for those around you.”
After confirming their daughter’s identity as one of the victims, the Petty family released a statement with the publication LDS Living.
“While we will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become, we are keeping an eternal perspective,” the statement read. “We are grateful for the knowledge that Alaina is a part of our eternal family and that we will reunite with her.”
WATCH: Thousands Attend Candlelight Vigil To Mourn the Victims of the Florida School Shooting
Services for the 14 Stoneman Douglas students, athletic director Chris Hixon, football coach Aaron Feis and geography teacher Scott Beigel began Friday and will continue throughout the week.
The funeral for 18-year-old Meadow Pollack was on Friday and 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver’s service was on Saturday.