Mom and son survive Florida school shooting, Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

Posted at 7:26 AM, Feb 16, 2018

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Scripps station WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida first met Broward County art teacher Annika Dean one year ago. She had just survived the January shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. Dean hid behind a smart cart, shielded by a stranger, as Esteban Santiago opened fire, killing five people.

At the time Dean said she was "most grateful for every moment now I have with my kids.”

Dean is grateful again, she says, this time that her son survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

"There's a school shooting drill. It's really scary, they fired a gun. IT'S NOT A DRILL." 

At 2:42 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, those were the texts Broward County School teacher Annika Dean started receiving from her 14-year-old son Austin. Austin, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was hiding in a JROTC classroom, along with 30 other students.

"He described that people had been running and screaming and he told me he was on lockdown," said Dean. "He said, 'I love you, just in case.'

Dean's own experiences flashed back.

"I definitely had a sense of what he was dealing with and going through and there was nothing I could do. I was just grateful for every text he was sending me," said Dean. "It's different when it happens to your kid."


But Dean had hope, Austin remembered some of what she told him after her own shooting experience.

"I have talked to my kids, sometimes when we're walking through grocery stores, I've asked them, what would you do if this happened, where would you go, where would you hide," said Dean. 

Dean says she's glad her son is safe, but she is also mourning for two of her best friends. One's daughter died in the massacre, another didn't make it out of surgery.

"They were my Sunday school students," said Dean. "They're just really on my mind right now." 

Dean is still in disbelief, saying several times she didn't even know what to say, even more in shock, thinking about the fact that this is the second active shooter situation her family has experienced. 

"It's incredibly rare. My brother said you're either one of the luckiest or the unluckiest and I said it's both. It's both," Dean said.