Parkland survivor sees parallels between the Uvalde and Parkland shootings

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Uvalde, Texas
Uvalde, Texas

Parkland survivors speak out on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the many similarities the two shootings had.

Isabella Benjumea was a high school freshman when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people.

WINK News spoke to her about what she went through surviving that shooting. She says what she’s seeing on TV from Texas is triggering her PTSD.

Many everyday people are outraged by the 78 minutes it took authorities to confront the gunman. However, few of us know what that fear feels like to pray police will come to save you before you are shot dead.

Parkland survivor Isabella Benjumea knows that feeling well.

When the news broke out of Uvalde that two school teachers and 19 school children were murdered, Benjumea said she cried, and her heart broke all over again.

“Like, really again? Like, another 18-year-old who grabs an AR-15 and goes and shoots up the school?” said Benjumea.

Four years ago, Benjumea was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She was 14.

Like the 10-year-olds in Texas, she was trapped in her school while a teenager killed kids with a legally purchased AR-15.

“It’s heartbreaking because when I was 14, I thought I didn’t deserve that. But they’re 10,” said Benjumea.

There are parallels between the guns and the shooters in Uvalde and Parkland. There are also parallels with the police. In Uvalde, it took authorities 78 minutes to confront the shooter.

“It’s so maddening. It gives me so much anger,” Benjumea said.

In Parkland, a school resource officer hid outside while children and teachers were murdered inside.

“There was a police officer there guarding the building, and he did not go inside didn’t, and it’s like, that’s your job,” said Benjumea.

Isabella calls the 20 minutes she hid under a desk the longest 20 minutes of her life. She said the idea of waiting for the police for 58 minutes longer is incomprehensible.

“78 minutes, like hiding underneath a desk with a bunch of dead bodies of your friends like next to you, not knowing if somebody was going to come in and save them but knowing if they’re going to see your parents again. In my shooting, we said never again. And it’s been four years since my shooting, and it hasn’t been never again,” said Benjumea.

Benjumea hopes to see congress pass laws like Florida’s legislature did after Parkland;Ā  raise the age to buy guns to 21 and pass red flag laws.

She’d also like to see background checks.

There are a lot of terrible parallels between these shootings, but Benjumea said she found the good in life and wants the surviving victims to know they will too.

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