Monday 22 October 2018

Mother of Irish teen caught up in Florida school shooting begged daughter to 'just keep running'

(L-R) Olga Hurley with her husband and their daughter Adelina
Photo Credit: Morning Ireland/RTE Radio One
(L-R) Olga Hurley with her husband and their daughter Adelina Photo Credit: Morning Ireland/RTE Radio One
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

The devastated mother of an Irish teenager who was caught up in a U.S. school shooting in which 17 people were killed has said she begged her daughter to "just keep running."

Olga Hurley has said that it is a "blessing" that her daughter Adelina (16) survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Miami, Florida on Wednesday.

Olga, who is originally from Russia, lived in Ireland for 18 years before she moved with her husband and their two children from Clontarf, Dublin to the US six months ago.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One today, she said that it was only when she went to collect Adelina from school at around 2.30pm on Wednesday that she saw over 100 police cars approaching the building from all directions and knew that something was seriously wrong.

Adelina recalled: "It was about 10 minutes before we were going to be dismissed to go home, the fire drill went off and everyone assumed it was just a normal fire drill.

"Then the teachers started to look worried, there were helicopters flying overhead and we saw stuff on the internet about a shooting.

"The teacher told our group to run along a secret route to the mall."

Olga was desperately trying to call and text her daughter to see if she was safe and she said she was relieved when she finally heard from Adelina.

"Eventually she saw my texts and calls and she called and said, 'Mum I'm running.'

"I asked her where she was going to but she didn't know, she said she was just running.

"Once I heard her voice, I knew she would be okay because she was with a lot of people.

"At the same time I heard on the news that the shooter hadn't been caught.

"There was panic, I didn't know what to think. I just kept telling her 'Keep running, keeping running and don't be alone'," she said.

Adelina said there was chaos as thousands of students tried to flee the school campus to safety.

A student has her tears wiped away after recounting her story about the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo: Getty Images
A student has her tears wiped away after recounting her story about the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo: Getty Images

She told RTE Radio: "It was really scary because everyone was running and screaming, some people were crying, people were climbing the fences just to try and get out as fast as they could, it was just really scary.

"I was on the phone to my mum so I felt a bit better."

Thankfully Adelina safely reached the shopping centre and Olga recalled the moment she they were reunited.

She said: "I had to be there, I walked and I just wanted to find my daughter.

"I was relieved to see my beautiful child in front of me, it's a gift, honestly it's a blessing."

She said that it was only later that they found out that one of Adelina's classmates was among those who died in the massacre.

Former pupil Nikolas Cruz (19) has since been charged with murdering 17 people at his former school in Parkland, an affluent suburb north of Miami, Florida.

It has since emerged that he was trained to shoot by white supremacist group Republic of Florida, who said that he "acted on his own behalf."

Cruz passed a background check to buy the AR-15 rifle and ammunition, despite previously being treated at a mental health facility.

This is the 18th school shooting in the US so far this year and President Donald Trump has vowed to "tackle the difficult issue of mental health".

He said on Twitter: "Neighbours and classmates knew he was a big problem.

"Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"

Nikolas Cruz (19), a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where he allegedly killed 17 people, makes his first appearance in court. Photo: Susan Stocker/Getty Images
Nikolas Cruz (19), a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where he allegedly killed 17 people, makes his first appearance in court. Photo: Susan Stocker/Getty Images

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