Florida community holds massive vigil to honor victims of Parkland school shooting

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Community members in Florida turned out in full force at a massive vigil to honor those killed in the shooting and also call for tighter gun laws. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Community members in Florida turned out in full force at a massive vigil in Parkland to honor the 17 people killed in the school shooting and also call for tighter gun laws.

An estimated 8,000 people gathered to remember the victims at the Thursday night vigil. Some sobbed openly as the names of the 17 people killed were read aloud.

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Police provide names of the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting

Some people brought candles and flowers while others held signs calling for action against school violence and gun control.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was one of those demanding change. While speaking to the crowd, he said elected officials have no choice but to introduce common sense gun laws.

"If you are an elected official and you want to keep things the way they are and not do things differently, if you want to keep the gun laws as they are now, you will not get re-elected in Broward County," the sheriff said to an applauding crowd.

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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel gives a timeline of events in the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida.

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson plan to visit Parkland on Friday to meet with officials. President Donald Trump has said he also plans to visit at some point. He's traveling to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this weekend.

The suspected gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has confessed to the killings, according to a court affidavit. Authorities have not released a motive.

As of Friday morning, the official GoFundMe page for victims of the shooting had already raised more than $800,000. More than $500,000 of that was collected in just nine hours.

If you want to make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund.

The first funeral was held Friday for a victim of the shooting. Mourners packed the Star of David chapel to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff. The star soccer player was remembered as having a strong personality and as a creative writer with a memorable smile.

PHOTOS: Florida school shooting aftermath
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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u.s. & worldshootingshooting rampagehigh schoolschool shootinggun violencestudent safetyparkland school shootingFlorida
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