Olga Hurley and her teenage daughter Adelina moved to the US from Dublin six months ago. They retell the panic and fear of Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida.
The mother of an Irish teenager caught up in Wednesday’s Florida school shooting has revealed the fear and panic on arriving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to find it under attack from an active shooter and children fleeing the building.
Adelina Hurley, 16, moved from Dublin to Florida with her family six months ago and on Wednesday found herself among hundreds of students running from their high school as former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire with an AR-15 rifle.
Her mother Olga, originally from Russia, arrived at the school around 2.30pm that afternoon to find it surrounded by over 100 police cars and knew instantly that something was amiss.
"It was about 10 minutes before we were going to be dismissed to go home, the fire drill went off and everyone assumed it was just a normal fire drill,” Olga Hurley told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio show.
“Mom, I’m running. There is someone shooting”— Jackie Fox (@jackiefox_) February 16, 2018
Irish teenager Adelina Hurley & her mother Olga spoke to me on @morningireland about escaping Wednesday’s mass shooting in Parkland, FL: https://t.co/aBGPY2eE99
"Then the teachers started to look worried, there were helicopters flying overhead and we saw stuff on the internet about a shooting.
"The teacher told our group to run along a secret route to the mall."
Worried for her daughter, Olga followed the teacher’s instructions but desperately called and texted her teenage daughter to ensure her safety.
"Eventually she saw my texts and calls and she called and said, 'Mum I'm running,'” Olga continued.
"I asked her where she was going to but she didn't know, she said she was just running. Once I heard her voice, I knew she would be okay because she was with a lot of people. At the same time, I heard on the news that the shooter hadn't been caught.
"There was panic, I didn't know what to think. I just kept telling her 'Keep running, keeping running and don't be alone.'"
'It was maybe 30 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours' https://t.co/WA3hkLzjbz— Lovin Dublin (@LovinDublin) February 16, 2018
Her daughter revealed the panic students felt as they did all they could to get out of the school as quickly as possible.
"It was really scary because everyone was running and screaming, some people were crying, people were climbing the fences just to try and get out as fast as they could, it was just really scary,” Adelina said.
"I was on the phone to my mum so I felt a bit better."
Olga called it “a gift” when she found her daughter in the mall unharmed: "I was relieved to see my beautiful child in front of me, it's a gift, honestly it's a blessing."
Former student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with the murder of 17 people at his former school. Although the motive of his crime is as yet unknown, it is understood he had been expelled for disciplinary reasons.
Update from my Aunt: (2/15/18 at 9am): Cara’s parents were given the news no parent ever wants to hear at 2am. Please...Posted by Tara Bazinsky on Dé Céadaoin, 14 Feabhra 2018
As the 17 victims, 14 students and three members of the faculty, are named, 14-year-old Irish dancer Cara Loughran is believed to be one of the youngest students to die in the shooting. Cara was a member of the Drake School of Irish Dance community in South Florida, and was described as “a beautiful soul,” who “always had a smile on her face.”