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By Mike Cugno

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BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) — Cars lined the street on Military Trail as hundreds came to pay their respects for 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver.  Unfortunately, this will be common sight because of Wednesday’s shooting.

At the Gardens of Boca Raton, members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas family gathered to say goodbye to a classmate.  Many of the mourners wore athletic jerseys to honor Joaquin, who was described as a huge sports fan.

Jordan Beckermeisteer said “All throughout his life he played sports. Really enjoyed it. Always had jerseys on at school. Never caught him without a smile on his face playing sports. Just all around great kid. Brought the environment to a happy place.”

Joaquin moved from Venezuela to the U.S. as young child and became a naturalized citizen back in 2017. Sadly, his American dreams will not come true. But his former classmates say the outpouring of support is helping with the grieving process

Beckermeisteer added “It just shows that everyone can come together. Doesn’t matter if you know him or not. Just come and show respect. Come together as a community.”

Earlier today the principal of the school delivered a message on YouTube. It’s his first address on camera since the shooting that claimed 17 lives — 14 of them students.

“The love you shared and continued to share is going to get us through these trying times. Eagles I promise you. I will hug each and every one of you as many times as you need. And I will hold you as long as need me to. All 3300 of you and your families and we will get through this together,” said principal Ty Thompson.

While it’s unknown when the high school will get back to normalcy, Thompson closed with this message to his high school.

“Our community is strong. Our students are strong. We will persevere in these trying times. As you can see on the media, my staff and my students are living our motto. Be positive, be passionate, and be proud to be an Eagle. We are MSD Strong. Continue to send us your thoughts and prayers and God bless the Stoneman Douglas, Eagle nation.

The White House says President Trump reached out to Principal Thompson Saturday, giving praise for the school’s resolve in the face of danger.


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