Annika Dean survived a mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last January, shielded by a stranger she called her "guardian angel." On Wednesday, her son, 14-year-old Austin Foote, also became a shooting survivor: He is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 were killed. Nikolas Cruz, 19, has confessed to being the shooter.
"I had just finished teaching my classes, I was looking at my phone and my son began texting me about what was happening at Stoneman Douglas," Dean, who is an elementary school art teacher, told the Sun-Sentinel. "He said this is not a drill, this is actual, and my heart just sank. I knew what he was going through."
Upsettingly, it is not the only story of its sort. Carly Novell, 17, also survived the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, just as her grandfather had survived a mass shooting in 1949 by hiding in a closet while he heard his parents be shot outside. "My family has always been really supportive of gun control," she wrote at The Cut, adding: "Anytime there is a shooting we are always thinking about my grandpa. And now it is happening so much more often. I think my grandfather would be really angry and upset."