TALLAHASSEE, FL -- (WTVY) Vigils are being held across Florida to honor the victims of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland. On Monday night, a crowd gathered for that purpose along the waterfront at Curtis Hixson Park in downtown Tampa.
Damaris Allen organized the vigil, but she also has a personal tie to the tragedy. She said a friend's niece, Carmen Schentrup, 16, was one of the people killed.
At the vigil Allen read a letter from Schentrup's family.
"She was silly, playful and huggable. As parents, we loved that she never outgrew our hugs," she read.
Later, Plant High School students symbolically read the names of the 17 victims. Many of the students cried, hugged and held hands as they took the stage.
"The whole school is sort of on edge right now and in shock, but we're all just trying to get through it," said Hannah Cohen, a freshman.
"Even if you're not part of that school community, it makes you worry for your own high school community and your own safety," said Rachael Hirsch, a senior.
A choir sang "Hallelujah" and people lifted their cell phones and flashlights in tribute.
Parents said the tragedy is bringing them even closer to their own children.
"It's very special for me to be here with her," said Jacqueline Seymour who attended with her daughter. "I just want to show her that we do support children and this is hard for us but we're going to do everything we can so that it doesn't happen again."