CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Loved ones gathered Monday to say goodbye to Alaina Petty, one of 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting.
The funeral began about 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Coral Springs.
"It doesn't feel real at all," Alaina's friend, Brooklynn, said. "It feels like you'll walk into her, like, at the store or when you go into school the next day."
Brooklynn, Hannah and Hailey told Local 10 News that they met Alaina through church and also attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"She was so smart," Hailey said. "She never had to study for any of the tests and she was just so kind to everyone. She never judged you based on what you were going through or who you were."
"She was always her(self). No matter where you were, you could always tell, that's Alaina. She never faked. She was always smiley and cheerful and beautiful," Hannah said.
The 14-year-old was a member of the JROTC program at the school, and her family said she spent countless hours doing community service, such as a trip to help clean up some of the hardest hit areas after Hurricane Irma.
"She was a terrific young lady and we're very saddened for her and for her family," Jose Castanos said.
Castanos is a member of the Coral Springs’ church’s leadership. He said Alaina's family has struggled with her loss, but their faith helps them believe they will someday meet again.
"This mortal life is only a small portion of our life," Castanos said. "We are eternal beings and we can be together as families again. That gives us hope, that gives us that courage to get through difficult times."
Alaina's family moved to South Florida from Seattle only a few years ago. She was the youngest of four siblings.
Her brother, who is also a member of the JROTC program at Stoneman Douglas, survived the shooting.
The family has asked for privacy, but released a statement, saying in part, "It is impossible to sum up all that Alaina was, and meant, to her family and friends. Alaina was a vibrant and determined young woman, loved by all who knew her."
Another victim of the shooting was also a member of the same church. Maddy Wilford was shot during that attack, but is expected to make a strong recovery.
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