*They saw me, and they panicked because I was matching the same description of [suspect] Nikolas Cruz. I had the same clothes, same hair color, same facial structure somewhat. … And they reported me.”
Can you imagine how frightened you would be in this situation?
Lorenzo Prado may have survived the horror that took place one week ago; when Nikolas Cruz let loose with an assault rifle and killed 17 students and teachers, leaving 14 more wounded and dozens traumatized for life at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But he feels victimized twice.
After being faced with at least a hundred students banging on the door of the auditorium, where he had been when the gunman hit, he opened the door for the frightened students but wasn’t exactly clear on what was happening.
Then, hearing gunshots and screams, he locked himself in the sound booth at the auditorium and prepared to die.
“I knew any move I made would be the end of my life.”
“On the day of the Douglas massacre, I was a victim like everyone else,” Prado, 17, said during an emotional news conference today in Tallahasse, the Florida state capital. “But my case was different than all the others because on that day, I was a suspected school shooter.”
“I was just hiding up there. I had no idea what was going on and then the door started to rattle,” Prado said. “And, at first, the only thing that came to my mind was, ‘I’m going to die, the shooter is going to kill me.'”
He said that when the door burst open, he saw the officers and initially thought he was rescued. But he quickly learned, “They thought it was me that killed 17 people.”
“I go down the stairs and they tell me to put my hands up and I, being the fool that I am, tried putting my phone back in my pocket,” he said. “They demanded again, and I, not trying to be one of those news stories of someone dying wrongfully because they refused to put their hands up, I just dropped my phone at that moment and kept going.”
In a video of the press conference attended by survivors, many students demanded legislators take them seriously. One after another they stepped up to the mic and articulated better than polished speakers, their desire to see change in the gun laws and insisted on those who previously shot down such laws to make themselves known.
“I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me,” Prado recalled as he was led out of the school building. He said he was tossed to the ground, handcuffed and held at gunpoint “for the degrading and depreciating action of the disturbed individual Nikolas Cruz.”
Read more of this terrifying incident here.