Parkland survivor's dad escaped harm in Las Vegas shooting

Father and son stories aren't supposed to look like this."I was praying for my friends and family to be OK," s...

Posted: Feb 21, 2018 11:26 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2018 11:26 PM

Father and son stories aren't supposed to look like this.

"I was praying for my friends and family to be OK," said Braden Freidkes, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was inside the school when a gunman started shooting.

Braden eventually made it out and into his parents' arms. They had been trying to reach him repeatedly and up until that point had feared the worst. "We were one of the lucky ones. We were able to get him and he was safe," said John Freidkes, Braden's father.

But now Braden and his dad have a shared experience, in a way they could have never imagined.

John Freidkes was in Las Vegas in October when a gunman opened fire onto a concert crowd.

"There was a crowd of people running towards us yelling 'there's a shooter, there's a shooter,'" said Freidkes. "We were lucky enough to jump in a taxi cab where there were two women in there already. One was hyperventilating, the other was seemingly in shock. We asked if they were coming from the venue and they were."

'I don't know what to tell my kids'

Just months later, Freidkes is at a loss for words.

"My parents never had to talk to me about situations like this," Freidkes said. "You get up every morning and you're afraid to turn on the news."

The Las Vegas shooting became the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, and Parkland is in the top 10, the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook.

Freidkes said at first he was worried about sending Braden back to school, and he thought about homeschooling, but he quickly dismissed it. "You can't live in fear," he said.

"It's got to stop. There's got to be a way," Freidkes said. "Our political leaders that we vote for work for us, not for lobbyists, and they need to remember that."

'I want to get an education, I want to be safe'

Braden was across the hall from teacher Scott Beigel as the shooting began to unfold.

"I asked my teacher Mr. Beigel, saying 'What's going on,' because we all ran back," Braden said.

Beigel was one of 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting. He was Braden's favorite teacher and died defending his classroom.

"What really hurt me is that I passed every test, but the last one I did bad on and that's how it ended for me. I was super sad to kind of let him down on that."

Braden said he had to walk around his teacher's body when he was eventually able to leave the school.

While some have viewed mass shootings as a continuous cycle of "thoughts and prayers" followed by inaction, some of these student survivors have rallied around #NeverAgain in hopes of making the hashtag a reality.

It's a reality built on stakes that both a father and son have now seen firsthand, only months apart.

"I want to be safe wherever I go," said Braden. "I want to go to school to learn, I want to get an education, I want to be safe, and I want to come home to see my parents every day."

Marches are being organized around the country with one mission: To pressure members of Congress to act on gun reform and to make schools safer. They include a march on Washington called "March for Our Lives" on March 24.

CNN will hold a town hall with students and parents affected by the Parkland shooting. Both Florida senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio will participate. President Trump and Gov. Rick Scott were invited, but neither will be attending.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93012

Reported Deaths: 2040
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26447926
Ramsey10697319
Dakota7354125
Anoka5935132
Stearns390924
Washington368955
Scott250033
Olmsted236728
Nobles195416
Blue Earth16476
Wright15737
St. Louis148039
Carver13897
Clay134040
Rice13228
Mower13125
Sherburne112514
Kandiyohi9722
Winona86318
Lyon6674
Waseca6128
Steele5332
Freeborn5323
Benton5303
Nicollet52116
Watonwan5164
Todd4872
Crow Wing48118
McLeod4752
Chisago4711
Le Sueur4524
Otter Tail4224
Beltrami4055
Martin37210
Goodhue3519
Pine3090
Itasca30314
Polk2984
Douglas2862
Isanti2790
Becker2642
Carlton2561
Cottonwood2240
Morrison2221
Dodge2180
Pipestone21710
Chippewa2061
Meeker1942
Sibley1863
Wabasha1830
Brown1822
Yellow Medicine1752
Rock1640
Cass1593
Murray1582
Mille Lacs1543
Redwood1541
Unassigned15052
Renville1427
Jackson1411
Faribault1360
Swift1271
Houston1210
Koochiching1213
Kanabec1178
Roseau1170
Pennington1161
Fillmore1110
Lincoln1080
Hubbard941
Stevens941
Pope920
Big Stone760
Aitkin751
Wadena670
Wilkin613
Grant594
Lake580
Norman530
Lac qui Parle501
Marshall501
Mahnomen461
Red Lake421
Traverse290
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 83644

Reported Deaths: 1294
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15697261
Woodbury526363
Johnson508627
Black Hawk443688
Linn3941110
Story340517
Dubuque310141
Scott292628
Dallas275138
Pottawattamie206838
Buena Vista197212
Marshall177034
Sioux15043
Wapello131457
Webster121614
Plymouth110420
Clinton109920
Muscatine109154
Crawford10655
Cerro Gordo101821
Warren9486
Jasper81732
Des Moines7647
Marion7536
Tama70431
Henry6854
Carroll6535
Lee6207
Wright5721
Dickinson5086
Boone5008
Bremer4837
Washington45311
Louisa42815
Mahaska39119
Delaware3833
Franklin34618
Floyd3363
Jackson3303
Winneshiek3246
Hamilton3223
Clay3164
Lyon3074
Benton3061
Hardin2951
Winnebago28913
Poweshiek2788
Butler2672
Buchanan2651
Clarke2643
Jones2643
Emmet26010
Shelby2581
Allamakee2566
Kossuth2540
Chickasaw2470
Clayton2443
Sac2440
Guthrie2416
Cedar2381
Cherokee2352
Grundy2193
Madison2122
Fayette2112
Harrison2073
Iowa1981
Mitchell1880
Howard1866
Humboldt1843
Palo Alto1830
Calhoun1793
Hancock1772
Mills1771
Cass1602
Monroe15710
Pocahontas1562
Lucas1536
Page1530
Osceola1510
Monona1451
Jefferson1371
Appanoose1333
Union1283
Taylor1271
Davis1244
Ida1151
Van Buren1131
Fremont1100
Keokuk1051
Worth1040
Greene990
Montgomery905
Wayne852
Audubon811
Adair691
Decatur670
Ringgold492
Adams330
Unassigned40
Rochester
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
Mason City
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 60°
Albert Lea
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 59°
Austin
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Charles City
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Cooler temperatures are almost here
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Clear Lake's about face on landlord fees

Image

Bird song at senior living facility

Image

Family of murder victim talks after arraignment

Image

Switching gears to a new season

Image

Ivanka Trump Campaigns Through Southeast Minnesota

Image

Art infused downtown Rochester

Image

Ivanka Trump stumps in Rochester

Image

Former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Stumps for Biden

Image

Voting curbside on election day

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Friday

Community Events