Thousands attend vigil for Parkland school shooting victims

Thousands attended a candlelight vigil Thursday night for 17 people killed in an attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the day before. Each victim's name was read aloud as classmates sobbed.

"Each name was like my heart skipped a beat," Bryan Herrera said.

The 17-year old soccer player said he initially hadn't planned on attending the vigil.

"I didn't think I could handle it," he said.

The crowd was a sea of red - the school's color - with flowers, signs, and candles mixed in.

GALLERY: Thousands attend vigil for victims of South Florida school shooting

At one point during the vigil, some in the crowd began shouting, "No more guns! No more guns!"

Tighe Barry held a yellow sign reading "NRA stop killing our kids."

"I have two kids, and I think the only way it's going to stop is if we get the gun lobbyists off the back of politicians," Barry said.

LINK: Officials release identities of 17 killed in shooting

Ernest Rospierski, a teacher at the school, took several bracing breaths at the vigil as he talked to a reporter about the horror in the school halls.

"Bang, bang, bang - all of a sudden the shooting stopped," he said. "I looked down. He was reloading. I yelled: Run. And then I ran behind as many kids as I could."

Shay Makinde, 16, fought back tears for the friends he tried to save but could not. The junior pulled fleeing students from the hallway into a classroom. He turned to grab Joaquin Oliver but it was too late. The vigil "made me see my friend again and see him get shot and see his body on the floor."

The vigil ended with a request for everyone to write one specific act of good that they would perform in the coming days and weeks as a way to channel the raw emotions of the night into something positive


Associated Press reporter John Mone contributed to this report.