Three of the 17 people killed in Wednesday’s shooting at a South Florida high school used to live in the tri-state area, according to friends and family.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher Scott Beigel and coach Aaron Feis -- both of whom died in attempts to protect students from gunfire on Wednesday -- spent at least part of their childhood on Long Island. And 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff lived in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, before moving to Parkland, Florida, in 2014.
The three are also not the only ones with ties to the region. Like many in South Florida, 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg and 18-year-old Meadow Pollack had family in the tri-state area.
Beigel grew up in Dix Hills, where his parents still live, family friends told NBC. Neighbors told Newsday, which first reported on Beigel's childhood, that the teacher, 35, was well behaved and played ball with other children in the neighborhood. He went to West Hollow Middle School in Melville and Half Hollow Hills High School in Dix Hills.
He also was a counselor at a Pennsylvania camp popular with kids from Long Island. The camp, in a Facebook post Wednesday, called him a beloved friend and hero.
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Beigel worked as a geography teacher. He's hailed as a hero for ushering students to safety in a locked classroom. Then, students said, he blocked the door so the shooter couldn't get in.
"He unlocked the door and let us in," student Kelsey Friend told Good Morning America. "I thought he was behind me, but he wasn't. When he opened the door he had to relock it so we could stay safe, but he didn't get a chance to."
Feis, meanwhile, spent a few years of his childhood in West Islip, according to Newsday. His father was a sailor in the Navy, and the family moved to the Suffolk County town in the 1980s to live with Feis’ grandfather, Raymond Feis.
His granfather, now 85, said the coach spent about 7 years in West islip and left when he was 10. His family later moved to Parkland, and he graduated from the school in 1999 and spent his entire coaching career at the school.
On Wednesday, the 37-year-old died selflessly shielding students from bullets. A tweet from the school football program ended: "He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories."
"I knew he would go to people's aid, but I didn't know he was throw his life down," added Raymond Feis. "That's remarkable. That's a hero."
Alhadeff lived in Woodcliff Lake from about 2010 to 2014, when her family moved to Florida, according to NorthJersey.com. Friends remember the girl as a good teammate on the soccer pitch and an active participant in youth programs at Valley Chabad.
"What I remember about Alyssa is that while she scored a lot of goals in soccer, she was also always assisting," Jazzy Bachman, a 14-year-old Pascack Hills High School student, told NorthJersey.com. "I think that reflects a lot on her life – she was just always helping people, always reaching out and always optimistic."
Alhadeff continued to play soccer once she arrived in Parkland. Parkland Soccer Club posted on its Facebook page that Alhadeff was a "loved and well respected member of our club and community."
On Thursday, Alhadeff’s mother delivered an impassioned plea for gun control, directly calling on President Trump to push for greater gun control actions.
"President Trump, please do something,” she said. “Do something! Action! We need it now!"