01/14/14 — In mourning

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In mourning

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 14, 2014 1:46 PM

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Rosewood High School is seen early today. Students and faculty were trying to cope with the deaths of two students who died Monday. Spenser Garrison, 16, and Malia Porter, 15, died of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

"Not taking anything for granted today because what you have today, could be gone tomorrow"


The hashtag that will forever bind their thoughts on a social media thread is simple enough.

But in the hours since the Rosewood High School student body learned about the loss of its classmates, the words that have preceded "#P4SAM" on the Twitter feeds of hundreds of teenagers have spoken volumes about how they are coping with losing 16-year-old Spenser Garrison and 15-year-old Malia Porter.


"How could this happen? How could this happen? My heart hurts."


Members of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office still don't have all the answers.

But Sheriff Carey Winders said his investigators pored over the scene at the bridge Monday, interviewing witnesses and passers-by who had stopped their vehicles and called for help -- and worked to notify the parents of both teens before releasing any details to the media.

The Rosewood students were not the only ones struggling to deal with the death of the teens.

Winders called Monday's events a tragic loss.

"My heart goes out to the families of these two young people. ... These two young people made a decision without thinking that has affected their families, their friends and other loved ones. They never got to live a life," the sheriff said in a statement.

But Winders' statement was not limited to expressing his grief. He also cautioned other students to seek help before making a choice that can change their future forever.

"My advice to young people, if there is something going on in your life and you need help, please find someone to talk to. Find a family member, a friend, a trusted adult, but please find someone to talk to. The events which unfolded yesterday is not the answer."


"I've been crying all night."


Tears fell Monday evening in the Rosewood High School parking lot as a makeshift memorial was created at the foot of the flag pole.

Candles burned as the crowd said prayers, embraced one another and began to accept that they would never again see two of their friends.

But their grief was not confined to the school grounds.

Many of them took to Twitter to share their emotions -- and to offer prayers to the victims' families.

Some typed Scripture and famous quotes about love, God and having an appreciation for "every day."

And others said they had no idea how to deal with the loss -- that they felt wounded and were unsure how the could ever roam the Rosewood High halls again.

Grief counselors were expected to be at the school today to assist the student body.

And Winders said many pastors and community leaders have volunteered to help as well.