The mass shooting at a Florida high school on Wednesday claimed the lives of at least 17 people, spurring a number of desperate goodbye text messages in the frantic moments.
One of those exchanges was shared on Thursday by senior Sam Zeif, an 18-year-old student who sent texts to his little brother, 14-year-old Matthew, who was in a different class during the shooting.
The worried older brother first sent Matthew a text asking if he was okay. He sent it just moments after the shooting began at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Daily Mail reported.
“Hopefully,” Matthew responded. “Just know, I love you forever and your the best brother.”
Sam tried to reassure his brother, “We’re gonna get out of here I promise.”
Only seconds earlier, Matthew had seen his geography teacher, Scott Beigel die. The teacher was ushering in students before he was shot, just after locking the classroom door behind him.
Matthew had been the last student to get into the class, according to the New York Times. After slipping in he turned around and saw the teacher lying near the door, pale and bleeding.
Florida school shooting survivor shares the heartbreaking texts he exchanged with his little brother https://t.co/5H2JDSXDwP
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 16, 2018
The boy’s mother, Jennifer Zeif credited Beigel for saving her son’s life.
“Mr. Beigel could have passed Matthew up and gone in the classroom first,” Jennifer told the New York Times. “In that case, Matthew would have been the one in the doorway.”
When Sam shared the exchange on Twitter he said the scariest part was not knowing if he was able to see his brother again.
Scariest part of it all was knowing my little brother was right above me and not knowing if I would ever see him again. 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. pic.twitter.com/Iq8CHVNXd0
— Uncle Sam Zeif (@SzZeif) February 15, 2018
‘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,’ he said on Twitter.
Another emotional exchange between Matthew and his mother was shared on Facebook.
The texts reveal how Matthew tried to tell his mother how much he loved her.
“Mommy. Your the best thing that ever happened to be and just know. Keep living life,” he wrote in one text.
Authorities identified the shooter as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The lone gunman had a dark history and was armed with an AR-15.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters on Thursday that all families have been notified of the deaths.