'Our lives are going to be changed forever,' student says at prayer vigil

Another vigil scheduled for 6 p.m. in Parkland

By Layron Livingston - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - A student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School told Local 10 News Thursday at a prayer vigil that he and his fellow peers' "lives are going to be changed forever," following Wednesday's mass shooting.

"That school isn't going to be the same ever again," 11th grader Manolo Alvarez said. 

Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera were among those who attended the prayer vigil Thursday afternoon following the mass shooting in Parkland.

The vigil began at noon at Parkridge Church in Coral Springs.

Alvarez said he attended the vigil to come together with others affected by the shooting.

"It's something that we all need to come together and talk about," he said. 

The church's American flag flew at half-staff in honor of the 17 victims killed in the mass shooting. 

A program was handed out to gatherers, which read, "We stand united as a faith community with our first responders, teachers, city leaders and fellow residents affected by this tragedy. We are praying for you, we love you and we are here to serve you."

Alvarez told Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston that he recently became friends with one of the victims killed, Martin Duque. 

The teen said Duque was very friendly and well-liked at school. 

The student said he also knew assistant football coach Aaron Feis well. He said Feis was always there to greet students with a smile, say hello and offer words of encouragement. 

The shooting touched the pastor for Parkridge Church on a personal note as he said he initially started the congregation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Eddie Bevill said he hoped the community stays united in the weeks to come.

"It won't be the front-page article in a few weeks. My hope is when that day comes, we're still bonded together and not breaking apart, and not living in fear, but living in faith, believing in fellow man that we can trust one another," Bevill said. 

Another vigil was scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Pines Trail Park in Parkland, but students, teachers and parents gathered hours before it started to support one another.

People were seen crying, hugging and holding onto each other as they remembered those killed and injured in the shooting. 

One of the victim's mothers, Lori Alhadeff, attended the vigil, where she called on President Trump to do more to keep students safe.

"The gunman, a crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks down the window of my child's door and starts shooting -- shooting her and killing her," Alhadeff told CNN. "President Trump, you say, what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands! Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children go to school and have to get killed!"

Alhadeff's daughter, Alyssa, was one of 17 people killed in the shooting. 

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