STORIES
February 21, 2018

Nurse Who Took In Florida Shooter Was Trying To Help

Nurse Who Took In Florida Shooter Was Trying To Help
Angelina Walker
By: Angelina Walker Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

By Amy Blitchok 

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, just before 3 pm, a 19-year old former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The suspected gunman, Nikolas Cruz pulled the fire alarm and took aim at students and teachers as they followed protocol and made their way out of the building.

Once it became apparent that there was an active shooter, students scattered and tried to barricade themselves in classrooms. Cruz continued to hunt down victims as they fled. Currently, there are a total of 17 fatalities with dozens of other being treated for injuries.

The Nurse Who Took In The Shooter 

Shortly after the shooting, details about Cruz’s life began to emerge and it came to light that he moved in with the family of a friend after both his parents died. In a sad twist, it turns out that Kimberly Snead, the woman who took him in, is a NICU nurse. Clearly, her caring nature carried over from her professional work and prompted her to also show Cruz some compassion. Unfortunately, her good deed meant that she had a volatile young man living under her roof.

Snead’s husband told the New York Times, “We didn’t know he had such an evil past.” 

The Snead family was brought in for questioning and had a brief interaction with Cruz where Kimberly had to be physically restrained as she tried to get some answers out of him. As it turns out, Kimberly saw him leave the house that morning before she went to bed to rest up for her nursing shift. By that afternoon, it had become clear that despite all the Snead family had done to help him get on track simply wasn’t enough to prevent a terrible school massacre.

Parkland, Florida Mass School Shooting

In the face of such raw and unnecessary violence, it can be difficult to feel warmly towards humankind, but this tragic story is also full of examples of people rising to the occasion and doing their absolute best to serve others. While no one was able to prevent the shooting, first responders from around the county flooded the scene after the first shots were fired. As students and teachers came streaming out of the school amidst the pop of gunfire, helicopters were already circling overhead and EMTs were administering medical care to students on nearby sidewalks.

While first responders and medical professionals train for these types of situations, it is one instance where they never want to have to put their training to use. Despite the extreme and devastating circumstances, everyone stepped up to the task and helped students safely exit the building while also hunting down the shooter who had managed to blend into the chaos and make his way out unnoticed.

Victims were sent to Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health North Hospital. While fifteen victims died on the school’s campus, two more were pronounced dead at the hospital. At Broward Health North, Dr. Evan Boyar, medical director of emergency medicine reported that three patients were in critical condition and three others had been stabilized. With the help of emergency surgery, patients were able to receive life saving treatment that led Dr. Igor Nichiporenko to make the comforting statement that: “They’re going to have successful surgeries. They’re going to recover. They’re going to go home.”

Following the shooting and the arrival of wounded patients, both facilities were immediately put under a lockdown, which was meant to protect victims and their families and ensure that officials were aware of everyone who was both entering and leaving the building. Family members of the victims were allowed to see their loved ones, speak with doctors and receive support for the staff.

What You Can Do to Help

If you live in Broward County, visit the OneBlood donation center. The organization is reporting that there is an urgent need for O-negative blood although any donations are welcome. If you don’t live in Florida, donating blood to a local center is still a great way to show your support and do something meaningful that can help save lives. Simply taking a little time out of your day and donating blood could make a huge difference and is exactly the type of support that we should be showing for each other and the medical community on a daily basis. 

Perhaps more than anything, we would like to thank all the first responders and medical professionals who jumped into action in the aftermath of this shooting. Your competence and care were an invaluable resource and will continue to be an integral tool as the community starts on the path to healing. Without your selflessness and dedication, many others may have had to suffer unspeakable losses. Thank you for everything you do, especially in the face of danger.

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