'Looked Like the Grim Reaper': Shooting Survivor Recalls Seeing Gunman - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Parkland School Tragedy

Parkland School Tragedy

Continuing coverage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

'Looked Like the Grim Reaper': Shooting Survivor Recalls Seeing Gunman

"Teachers, and even some of the kids ... saved kids, other people, and that guy was just nowhere to be found," the student said

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    Kyle Laman, 15, who was shot during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14, recalls meeting the gaze of the gunman and diving for cover. NBC 6 Reporter Stephanie Bertini has the story. (Published Friday, March 2, 2018)

    A Parkland school shooting survivor who was injured in the massacre said school resource officer Scot Peterson was a "coward" for not confronting the gunman, whom he said looked like the "Grim Reaper."

    Kyle Laman, 15, said he was just having a "normal day" on Feb. 14. However, at about 2:20 p.m., the fire alarms went off.

    "We all went in the hallway. We were on the third floor. Every single person is in the hallway and no one's really moving ... I kinda got a really bad feeling," Kyle said.

    Seventeen people, mostly teenage students, were fatally shot at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    As the shooting developed, Kyle realized some of the doors on the floor were locked.

    "All of the sudden, just screaming," Kyle said.

    Kyle said a teacher who is taller was able to gauge the situation before immediately telling his students: "Get in the classroom. Now."

    "I freaked out. This is my No. 1 fear," Kyle said. "Everyone was scattering like ants."

    Kyle was in the middle of the hallway and he didn't know where to go. His teacher was trying to get a door open.

    "That's when I saw the shooter, and he looked at me and I looked at him and he pointed the gun and then I dove" into the entrance of a bathroom, Kyle said. "This is real. I couldn't believe it."

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    Within seconds, Kyle was shot in the foot.

    "He looked like the Grim Reaper. He had a hoodie on, so I couldn't see his face ... he looks like death," Kyle said, describing what he thought when he locked eyes with the gunman.

    The door to the bathroom was locked as gunfire raged. Kyle said he's thankful it was locked because, if not, he and a nearby friend would have hidden in the bathroom – giving the gunman the opportunity to "clear out. And we would have died."

    Kyle knew he had to run for his life. He peeked around the corner and saw the gunman looking into a classroom. Kyle ran for cover, but the gunman began shooting at him again.

    "I could see the debris of the bullets hitting the wall and falling off," Kyle said.

    The first door from which Kyle attempted to escape was blocked by the body of another student – a girl. He found another door and opened it, making it to the first floor.

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    The aunt of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting victim attended a walkout Wednesday at the Parkland, Florida, high school where her niece was killed on Feb. 14. "I beg viewers to stand up with these kids and fight with us to get this gun legislation in this country changed," Gina Fontana told NBC 6's Ari Odzer. 

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    "Sadly, I saw coach Feis – his body there ... let him rest in peace," Kyle said, referring to assistant football coach Aaron Feis who has been described by witnesses as a hero for his actions to protect students during the shooting.

    In a parking lot, Kyle saw other students and eventually found shelter in a locker room, where first responders tended to his foot wound. Outside the school, he met Sgt. Jeff Heinrich, of Coral Springs, and gave him a detailed description of what was happening inside and what the shooter was wearing. Heinrich was able to immediately relayed that information to dispatch officers.

    Kyle said he knew he had to take action or he would have died. School resource officer Peterson has been condemned after the Broward County Sheriff's Office said he took no action as the shooting occurred. Peterson later released a statement defending himself.

    "I feel it's pity – well, not really pity, but I feel like he's a coward. ... That's his job. He was supposed to go in there and he was supposed to protect and he didn't do that, which is sad – really sad, because if you're gonna sign up for a job to protect the school, protect the kids, they rely on you," Kyle said. "Every single person that was in that building who has passed, who has gotten injured, relied on that police officer. Teachers, and even some of the kids, have defended themselves and have saved kids, other people, and that guy was just nowhere to be found."

    Some two weeks after the shooting, Kyle returned home on Thursday. He said he's ready to go back to the school that he "absolutely" loves and is eager to see his friends. He's thankful for the "overwhelming" support he and the other victims have received.

    Kyle, who wants to be a fire paramedic, said he lost four friends in the shooting.

    "They did not deserve this," Kyle said.