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AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
A memorial outside the high school, placed one year after the shooting.
THE TOLL RISES

The Parkland community is grieving after two apparent deaths by suicide

By Ashley Rodriguez

The 14 students and three staff members gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year were not the last victims of the tragedy. That became evident this weekend after a student at the Parkland, Florida school died by “apparent suicide,” multiple sources reported. The news comes one week after 19-year-old Sydney Aiello, a former Parkland student who also attended the school during the 2018 massacre, reportedly died by suicide as well.

Members of the Parkland community expressed grief on social media. Some shared suicide prevention and mental health resources. Former Parkland student and activist David Hogg, who has become an advocate for gun reform, added two to the death toll from the 2018 shooting, in a display of solidarity with the victims. “How many more kids have to be taken from us as a result of suicide for the government / school district to do anything?,” Hogg wrote. “Rip 17+2”

Aiello, who died last week, was reportedly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered from “survivor’s guilt” after a close friend was killed at the high school, according to her mother. The second Parkland student, who died by apparent suicide on Saturday (March 23) evening, was also enrolled at the school during the 2018 shooting, Clyde Parry, chief of the Coral Springs Police Department, confirmed in an email to Quartz. Police have not publicly identified the victim, reportedly a sophomore at the high school.

The tragedy at Parkland on February 14, 2018, was among the deadliest shootings in history at a US high school. On Sunday (March 24), organizers also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the student-led March for Lives movement that was held in response to the shooting at the high school.

Suicides have followed other mass shootings, like the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999. But it is not known whether there is a direct link between mass shootings and suicides. Suicide rates, while consistently lower among younger people than middle-aged and older adults, have been rising in the US among people ages 15-24 in recent years.

“The tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is something that we as a community will struggle with for years to come,” said Lynne Martzall, media relations coordinator for the City of Coral Springs, in a statement. “Sadly, in a one-week span, two students who were enrolled at MSD during the tragedy lost their lives to an apparent suicide. We are working with community leaders and mental health professionals to address this serious life-safety issue and encourage all parents to speak to their children about this important topic.”

The US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800) 273-8255. If you need them, call them. They’ll help.

This post was updated with additional information from the city about the second victim.