Florida Shooting Survivor Lorenzo Prado Describes His Horrifying Ordeal Of Being Mistaken For The Gunman


Within hours of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre that left 17 dead, authorities took gunman Nikolas Cruz into custody. He has since confessed (and his arsenal has been discovered), but Cruz did manage to evade law enforcement while chillingly stopping for fast food. Within that duration, another teen who matched Cruz’s physical description was mistaken for him, and on Wednesday, Lorenzo Prado was one of several students who spoke during demonstrations at the Florida capitol. Prado told reporters how he was thrown to the ground by SWAT members who cuffed and pointed weapons at him.

As Prado describes, he was briefly considered responsible for “the degrading and depreciating action of the disturbed individual Nikolas Cruz.” He cooperated fully because “I knew any move I made would be the end of my life.” He details how scared he felt during the pandemonium of Cruz’s attack, and then matters somehow grew worse for Prado after he hid in a sound booth. People noticed his resemblance to the gunman’s description and reported him:

“I was just hiding up there. I had no idea what was going on. Then the door started to rattle. At first, the only thought that came to my mind was, ‘I’m going to die, the shooter is going to kill me.’ But then SWAT comes in, and I thought they were here to rescue me. But then as I go down the stairs, I find out that I was wrong.

“I found out that they thought it was me that killed the 17 people. I go down the stairs, they tell me to put my hands up. I, being the fool that I was, tried putting my phone back in my pocket. 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. When I went out those doors, I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me. I was tossed to the ground. I was unjustly cuffed and held at gunpoint.”

While it was still his turn to speak, Prado also labeled Cruz as a “terrorist” but said that, ultimately, the only way to prevent future such tragedies is to enact gun control laws. He told his audience that, while many people are discussing mental health and criticizing Trump’s responses to the shooting, that the law has failed, and “what we do to things that fail” should be to change them. The survivors of this shooting are undertaking incredible feats while also struggling to process this tragedy. Let’s hope they can be the spark that prevents another school shooting from happening, ever again.

(Via CNN)