Parkland school shooting: Second survivor takes own life, report says

24 March 2019, 17:02 | Updated: 25 March 2019, 06:13

A second survivor of the Parkland school shooting has taken their own life, according to a local report.

The Miami Herald said the male, whose name has not been released, was a sophomore - equivalent to Year 10 in the UK - at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The report quoted investigators in Florida as saying he had died in "an apparent suicide".

His death follows that of 19-year-old Sydney Aiello, a graduate of the same high school, who died last weekend.

According to the Miami Herald, another former student, David Hogg, asked: "How many more kids have to be taken from us as a result of suicide for the government / school district to do anything?"

Ms Aiello suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to an official at the Broward County medical examiner's office.

She had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ms Aiello was on campus on the day of the 14 February 2018 shooting, when 17 people were killed.

But she was not in the freshman building where ex-student Nikolas Cruz allegedly carried out the gun rampage.

Her mother Cara Aiello said that since the attack Sydney had struggled with survivor's guilt.

The Miami Herald quoted Ryan Petty, the father of 14-year-old Alaina Petty who was killed in the shooting, as saying the male student also died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Mr Petty has set up a suicide prevention foundation after his daughter's death, and described the sophomore's suspected suicide as "another tragic example" of why the issue needed to be talked about.

Ms Aiello had been close friends with Meadow Pollack, one of the victims of the school shooting in which 14 students and three staff members were killed.

Ms Pollack's brother Hunter paid tribute to Ms Aiello on Twitter, writing: "Beautiful Sydney with such a bright future was taken from us way too soon."

He later posted: "It was devastating to bury another beautiful young person in Parkland today.

"Our community is going through tragedy again. Please keep the Aiello Family in your prayers.

"Rest in peace, Sydney. Please take care of my sister."

On the anniversary of the Parkland shootings, schools across the US held memorials for the Florida victims, and the 671 in total which they counted had been killed in 2018.

Mental health expert Dr Victor Schwartz told NBC News that "exposure to death around you does to some small degree raise the risk of suicide".

"It stands to reason that there is some increased risk around the survivor guilt," he said.

"Parkland students have done an incredible job being out there and advocating for gun safety, but the sadness and distress are still there. I'm sure many of these students are still struggling with symptoms that look like PTSD," he said.

"And how could they not be?"

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.