Students say heroic actions of Stoneman Douglas High staff saved their lives

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - At least 30 Stoneman Douglas High students during Wednesday’s shooting were rushed into a classroom by a janitor who risked his life to save theirs.

The moment the group of students huddled together during the shooting was caught on camera, and according to freshman student David Hogg, they would not be alive were it not for the janitor.

“Right now, apparently, SWAT is clearing people, and this is not a drill,” Hogg can be seen saying in a video recorded from a closet inside the school.

When the students ran out of the closet, the janitor turned them away from danger.

“Turns out, I was heading with a group of people towards the shooter,” said Hogg. “I probably would’ve been killed. I was trying to run to my car and get in it — my car was in the senior lot — and I would’ve crossed paths with the shooter, and I would’ve been killed.”

Hogg said he recognized the janitor but does not know whether he is OK.

“Only through the brave and heroic actions of a janitor,” said Hogg. “Thank God he was here yesterday.”

The custodian shuffled the students into a nearby cooking class, where another teacher took them out of harm’s way.

“The janitor told us to stop,” said Hogg. “We stopped, and Chef Kurth took us in — about 30 to 40 students — in a matter of, I would say, 30 seconds, and it was amazing.”

The shooter was right outside, so Kurth acted quickly.

“There’s one room for cooking and one room for teaching,” said Hogg. “There’s a room in between that though that’s about a hundred square feet. She put us all in there — about 30 to 40 people, again, and we just packed in there like sardines.”

“In a time of crisis, they took leadership, and they saved easily 30 to 40 lives as a result,” said Hogg. “That janitor probably saved over a hundred lives.”

Other teachers also aided in bringing the students to safety.

“Teachers that were with us were helping us get out, to climb the fence and just to get out of there,” said junior Olivia Prochilo.

Another student, Kemily Duchini, said the gunfire was close to the classroom.

“The shots were so, so close, as if he was right outside my door but did not shoot through my door,” said Duchini, “and in that moment, everyone just got closer together, everyone just hugged each other, and it just a thankful moment that he didn’t and he ended up going another way.”

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