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Shen Color Guard remembers competitor killed in Florida HS shooting

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There’s at least one Capital Region connection to the shooting.

The shooting in Florida first grabbed the attention of members of the Shen Color Guard because they had faced the team from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in past competitions. Then came the news that one of the team members was a victim of the shooting.

As the bullets flew students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School scrambled for cover.

Among them was 14 year old Gina Montalto.

Most of the staff and students made it out of the building alive but 17 did not, including Gina.

The freshman served on the school’s Winter Guard team competing nationally against other high schools, including Shen.

Last night at practice the Shenendehowa Color Guard snapped a photo, hands shaped as hearts as a show of solidarity and in memory of Gina.

Their Facebook post read “We are lost. We are devastated. We are lifting you up through our tears tonight. Love, your friends at Shenendehowa.”

Two members of the Shen team told NEWS10 ABC how they felt compelled to send out this message.

“The picture was definitely to show our support and for what they’re going through,” Kelly Pagniello said, “We can’t imagine the toll that takes on their team and their school, so it was really to show our support.”

“It really affected us because we’re putting ourselves in their shoes and if anything it would have been really great to hear from our own competitors saying how much they supported us. And we wanted to do the same for them,” Amanda Maltz said.

“One of the kids turned to me and said, ‘It could have been one of us.’ So that became very scary for us. So we talked a lot about how do we deal with that? How do we grow from that? And support them as an organization,” Scott Snell, Shen Color Guard Director, said.

The team is leaving Thursday night for a national completion in Indiana. They say it will be less about competition, and more about supporting their fellow color guard sisters and brothers in South Florida.