On Friday night, over a 100 protesters gathered outside the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Virginia at a vigil for the 17 people who died following Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a 19-year-old alleged gunman, armed with what police say was a military-style semi-automatic rifle and countless magazines.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, is in custody and is being held without bond. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, and has not yet entered a plea.
According to News 7 Boston, the protesters joined together to remember the victims and call for lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws.
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ABC News reported that family members and friends who knew the victims of the Parkland shooting were in attendance on Friday night, as well as those who had known the 32 people who had been killed during the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, the deadliest school shooting in American history.
Peter Read told WJLA that after hearing about what happened in Florida, he was “quickly” reminded of losing his daughter over a decade ago.
“It very quickly takes us back to where we were in April of 2007. It’s numbing. It’s maddening,” Read told the outlet.
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WJLA also reported that a friend of 17-year-old Nicholas Dworet, who was killed on Wednesday along with 16 others, shared her sadness about having to bury “my best friend next week.”
“I cheered with these people and I cheered with one of these girls,” the friend who chose not to be identified told the outlet. “Now I have to bury my best friend who is committed to the University of Indianapolis for swimming. I grew up with him.”
Following Dworet’s death, his family released a statement about how their son had been “full of life and joy.”
“The family is heartbroken and devastated to have lost Nicholas,” reads a statement from the Dworet Family. “He dreamed of making the Olympic swim team and going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He believed he could accomplish anything as long as he tried his best.”
ABC News also reported that Virginia congressman Gerry Connolly attended Friday night’s vigil and made comments about the need for stricter gun laws.
“Children are dead because of you,” the democrat said of the NRA, according to WJLA.
Although the NRA has yet to comment on the shooting, ABC News reported that flags were flying at half-mast outside the organization’s headquarters on Friday.