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Family, students embrace in emotional reunion after Parkland school shooting

Posted: 8:24 PM, Feb 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-16 08:00:21Z

For Stoneman Douglas juniors Trinity Smith and Merhedyne Verna, Thursday marked an emotional reunion 24 hours in the making. 

"It was pretty much chaos, we couldn’t find anybody because everybody was rushing around," said Verna. 

“I’m just happy to see her, know that she’s still here," said Smith. 

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The pair didn't know if either made it out alive until finding each other under the Sawgrass Expressway Thursday afternoon. 

“She left everything, she didn’t have anything, she was in the hallway at the time, that’s why I was so scared and I was worried about her," said Verna. 

Trinity's mother, Michelle Smith, ran to the high school when shots rang out. 

For a gut-wrenching 10 minutes, she didn't know if her daughter survived.

“I wanted to die too," said Smith.  "Everything inside you drops to the pit of your stomach. When I saw her, I just, I collapsed on the inside.”

ABC Action News spoke to a tearful senior who had lost not only a close friend, but also a mentor. 

RELATED: Coach dies after heroically shielding students from gunfire in Florida school shooting

Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach, threw himself in the line of fire during Wednesday's massacre, selflessly shielding students. Feis' actions saved lives while he lost his own. 

"He died an American hero, he literally died protecting us," the student said.