During the mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier this week that left at least 17 students and staff dead, two brothers texted each other in frantic bursts of communication as they each waited out the massacre on different floors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In a Twitter post on Thursday, 18-year-old Sam Zeif published a string of those messages, revealing the intense emotion expressed during the terrifying minutes during which his younger brother, 14-year-old Matthew, was in close proximity to the gunman.
The older brother shared his own thoughts upon reading the updates on his phone.
“Scariest part of it all was knowing my little brother was right above me and not knowing if I would ever see him again,” he wrote on Twitter.
When the brothers were reunited outside of the Parkland school, Sam Zeif said his entire outlook on their relationship changed.
“I’ve never really treated him the way he deserved. Not anymore. Seeing his face outside of school was the most relief I had ever felt. My prayers to all.”
The text messages between Sam and Matthew Zeif revealed an older brother desperate to comfort a younger brother who had just seen his teacher gunned down in front of him.
“We’re gonna get out of here I promise,” Sam Zeif wrote.
Scott Beigel, the geography teacher shot dead in the doorway of the room from which Matthew Zeif texted his brother, has since been heralded as a hero who saved the the teen’s life as his last act.
He reportedly ushered Matthew Zeif to safety, exposing himself to the encroaching gunman.
According to the New York Times, Jennifer Zeif believes the teacher saved her son’s life by sacrificing his own.
“Mr. Beigel could have passed Matthew up and gone in the classroom first,” she said. “In that case, Matthew would have been the one in the doorway.”
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