CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - City leaders recognized three Coral Springs students who spoke up when one of them spotted a loaded gun at their school and rewarded them for their actions.
According to police, Coral Springs High School students Sinclaire Caprio, Alejandra Palma and Daniel Salazar reported 17-year-old Ryan Trollinger, a former student, after one of them saw that he had a firearm in his possession on campus, Oct. 10.
Salazar told 7News he was the one who first spotted Trollinger as he walked to lunch. “I see the kid, he lifted up his shirt, and I see the handle of the gun,” he said. “I was just in shock. Then I saw my two friends.”
“We see Daniel coming towards us, and his face went like white,” said Palma, “and we said, ‘What happened?’ And he said, ‘I think that kid has a gun.'”
The students then asked themselves how they should proceed. “We were like, ‘Should we leave? Should we leave?’ But we realized it was better if we said something,” said Palma.
“First thing we did, we sped walked to the office,” said Caprio.
Palma said they then told school officials what Salazar had seen. “We said, ‘We think there’s someone on campus with a gun,'” she said. “We gave them the description, and we said, ‘We don’t know if it’s true or not. We’d just rather tell you guys.'”
The school resource officer, along with security guards, found Trollinger in minutes, and they confirmed he was carrying a 9 mm gun.
Palma said it took some time for the grim realization to sink in. “I didn’t realize the severity of the situation. I was just hoping that it wasn’t true, that it was a missed call,” she said. “I don’t know. I just really wasn’t hoping that he had a gun, so when it turns out that he did, that’s kind of when it hit me.”
Officials said Trollinger’s unidentified friend was also carrying a 10-page manifesto. In it, the student wrote, “Terror [expletive] day!!!!!!!” In other parts of the document, he wrote “rage” and “kill them all!!!! (guns rule).”
The two teens were taken into custody.
Just over a month later, Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell was among the officials hailing Caprio, Palma and Salazar as heroes at a City Commission meeting, Wednesday night. “They probably saved many, many lives,” he said.
The students received words of praise, certificates and even a standing ovation, on Wednesday night.
They said they would have done nothing differently if given the chance to do it again. “Even if you go and you don’t say something — and people actually do get hurt because of what happens — you have to live with that for the rest of your life,” said Palma.
“Just knowing that people could die. I experienced the loss of my father,” said Caprio. “It’s hard enough imagining losing a parent but losing like a child or your best friend … that would be tragic.”
Since the October incident, the students have been receiving letters of appreciation and gift cards from grateful parents. When one of them was asked what she would advise other teens if they ever found themselves in her situation, she simply replied, “Just do it.”
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