Thousands of people mourned the dead at a candlelight vigil following America’s latest mass shooting, some chanting "No more guns!" and "Enough is enough!”.
Many wept as the names of the 17 victims of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida were read out in a local park.
In tears Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed, told the crowd of around 8,000 people: "I sent her to school yesterday and she was supposed to be safe. My job is to protect my children. What is unfathomable is that Jaime took a bullet and is dead.
"Don’t tell me there is no such thing as gun violence. My girl, my 14-year-old baby….for those of you who knew my Jaime, she was the life of the party, she was the energy in the room."
Parkdale, an affluent suburb north of Miami, was shattered when Nikolas Cruz, 19, unleashed an attack on Valentine’s Day, having previously been expelled from the high school.
He has been charged with 17 counts of murder and is on suicide watch in a nearby jail. His lawyers have said he was mentally ill and had previously sought therapy, but he was still able to legally buy an AR-15-style rifle and numerous ammunition magazines.
Before the vigil began one distraught mother demanded action by the White House. Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Alhadeff was among the dead, screamed into the camera during an emotional plea to President Donald Trump during a live interview on CNN. She shouted: "President Trump, you say what can you do? You can do a lot! Do something! Action. We need it now.
"How do we allow a gunman to come into our children’s school? How did they get through security? What security is there? The gunman, the crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks down the window to my child’s door and starts shooting, shooting her, and killing her.
"This is not fair to our families and our children to go to school and have to get killed!”
She said: "This is our home, and this is where we will not be intimidated by evil."
Scott Israel, the local sheriff, added: "We are hurting, and hurting bad. No parent should bury their child."
And Robert Runcie, the local schools superintendent Robert, said: "Now is the time for us to enact some common sense gun laws in this country."
Signs held aloft by those in the crowd included "NRA stop killing our kids," aimed at the National Rifle Association.
Anthony Rizzo, a Chicago Cubs baseball player who is the most famous alumnus of the school, gave an emotional address at the vigil.
He said: "I studied in those classrooms – the same ones we saw in all those videos yesterday for all the wrong reasons.
Read more | Florida school shooting
"I’m a baseball player but I’m also an American. I’m a Floridian, and a Parklander for life.
"While I don’t have all the answers I know something has to change before this is visited on another community, and another community, and another community.
"This is out of control, and our country is in desperate need of change."
Carly Novell, 17, was responding to Tomi Lahren on Twitter after the Fox News pundit dismissed the tragedy as the actions of a "lunatic", rather than a sign of a gun problem.
I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren't there, you don't know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://t.co/XnzhvuN1zd
— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
Miss Novell shared the tweet, saying: "I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings.
"This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns."
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