Since Parkland

The Hardest Stories to Tell

Every fatal shooting of a child is heartbreaking. But when The Trace worked with more than 200 student journalists to memorialize 1,200 kids killed by guns, some of the stories in our Since Parkland project felt incomplete. This is our effort to fix that.

We launched Since Parkland with a simple mission in mind: to tell the stories of nearly 1,200 children and teens who were shot and killed in America in the year following the Parkland massacre. We worked with student journalists to write the profiles because young people in the U.S. are contending with gun violence every day, navigating the threat of gunfire in their neighborhoods, and participating in regular lockdown drills at school. Gun violence is their story to report. 

When the project went live in February in partnership with the Miami Herald, McClatchy newspapers, and NowThis News, the profiles were organized in categories that showed these children and teens as more than just statistics: They were athletes, musicians, siblings, college-bound seniors, young parents, community volunteers, dancers, artists, and more. 

But one category, “Stories Left to Tell,” housed profiles of more than 100 young victims whose hobbies, talents, and aspirations remained unknown. Some of them were killed too close to the launch of the project for the student journalists to have time to report them out. Other victims landed in the category because they had left no discernible digital trail. But the majority of the incomplete profiles — most of them were of black and brown teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 — remained unfinished because the media coverage we relied on to seed our reporting was so scant. 

Over the summer, we assembled a team of 10 of the teen journalists who powered Since Parkland to correct that.

The young reporters were dogged in their search for sources and tips. They reached out to coaches, classmates, and neighbors. They sent Instagram DMs to cousins, best friends, and significant others. They listened to victims’ SoundCloud songs and watched their YouTube videos. They spent hours on the phone with grieving brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. They identified previously unknown victims and in multiple cases found the correct spellings of names mangled by initial reports. 

By September, they added humanizing detail to 85 profiles, resulting in stories like these: 

Our work does not end with this update, however. Two dozen Stories Left to Tell remain; nearly all are of teens of color. Our student reporters, assisted by staffers from The Trace, will keep digging. But we need your help. You can find the list of incomplete profiles here. If you have information to share on any of them, please write us at [email protected]

All of the Since Parkland profiles required tenacious reporting and dedication from our teen journalists, but the 85 profiles in this collection took extra effort. They go beyond the thin or nonexistent local and national news coverage that followed the victim’s shooting, which often failed to tell readers anything beyond the circumstances of death. They honor these young people by revealing who they were to those who loved them. 

These were the hardest stories to tell, and they are worth your time. 

— Katina Paron and Akoto Ofori-Atta

Bryan Alvarado-Esquivel

Age 17

Bladensburg, Maryland

Good student at the wrong place

Adrian Alvarez

Age 18

Santa Maria, California

Loving son taken from his mother

Aidan Atkinson

Age 18

Waynesboro, Mississippi

He loved his blue pickup truck

Dametrius Benson

Age 17

Wilmington, Delaware

Girlfriend, family will miss his playfulness

Robert Biggers Jr.

Age 18

Louisville, Kentucky

Local rapper who loved his familyi

Jebidiah Bishop

Age 4

Clinton, Missouri

Only child, looked like his mom

Dontravious Bolden

Age 17

Fort Pierce, Florida

Secret artist, hid drawings and songs

Anthony Bonney

Age 17

Freeland, Pennsylvania

Organ donor and a beloved brother

DaShawn Bradford

Age 16

Wichita, Kansas

Playing collegiate baseball was his goal

Mark Bradley Jr.

Age 18

Flint, Michigan

His siblings miss him so much

Kenjay Brown

Age 14

Allendale, South Carolina

An unforgettable smile, never seen again

Robert Carranza

Age 17

Tulare, California

He liked to post song lyrics

Carter Clemons

Age 6

Miamisburg, Ohio

He loved dinosaurs and his cousins

Jaterrius Conwell

Age 18

Bessemer, Alabama

Twin brother lives without other half

Erick Coronel

Age 16

Chicago, Illinois

Who will his brother admire now?

Ramand Davis

Age 12

Hurt, Virginia

Happy in his SpongeBob SquarePants jammies

Ella Fain

Age 5

Carnesville, Georgia

Little girl just wanted to dance.

Delametric Fairley

Age 18

Collins, Mississippi

Never got to make travel plans

DaKwaun Faulks

Age 18

Macon, Georgia

Proud father ready for new beginning

Nadarius Freedman

Age 16

Greenville, Mississippi

A comedian takes his last ride

Darnelle Flowers

Age 17

Chicago, Illinois

He wanted something better from life

Jo'Markius Fuller

Age 18

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Never to wear grandma’s scarves again

Keimarre Galvin

Age 18

North Las Vegas, Nevada

A good brother, a loving son

Israel Gamez

Age 18

Woodbridge, Virginia

Father, driven by love of family

Pedro Garcia Jr.

Age 17

Macon, Georgia

A musician. A brother. A friend.

Akim Glover

Age 18

Bronx, New York

Best older brother he could be

Roberto Gomez

Age 16

Nampa, Idaho

He just settled down with family

Carlos Guy

Age 17

Memphis, Tennessee

His devoted mother still misses him

Curtis Hairston Jr.

Age 18

Decatur, Illinois

A little brother immortalized in ink

Eric Harris Jr.

Age 18

Shreveport, Louisiana

He was riding his bike home

Lamir Harrison

Age 17

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

His niece now bears his name

Alphonso Hornsby

Age 15

Augusta, Georgia

Young comedian with a good heart

Traviontie Johnson

Age 18

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

He always put his family first

Kobe Johnson

Age 18

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

He always put his family first

Christopher Johnson

Age 18

Wilmington, California

Making others better versions of themselves

Monterio Joiner

Age 18

Whitehaven, Tennessee

Momma’s boy, music lover, tough reputation

Ra’Quan Jones

Age 18

Wellston, Missouri

Didn’t get to see his GED

Titus Kelly Jr.

Age 18

Moss Point, Mississippi

He loved sports, family, and church

Noel Lazo

Age 17

Houston, Texas

A smile framed by dimpled cheeks

Brice Lewis

Age 18

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

He juggled work, school, and football

Jesus Lopez

Age 16

Chicago, Illinois

A good friend, a good soul

Kayleen Lor

Age 5

Stockton, California

She just wanted to help people

Amir Lynn

Age 18

Mims, Florida

“We only apart to meet again”

Adrian Maldonado

Age 17

Dallas, Texas

Always the “son of my life”

Dwight Manning

Age 18

Dallas, Texas

A child left without a father

Beverly McBride

Age 17

LaRue, Texas

Purple hair, just like her dad

Tahaji McGill

Age 17

Danville, Illinois

Loved basketball “like he loved life”

Kyle McGowan

Age 17

Chicago, Illinois

Without him, loved ones aren’t whole

Alejandro Mendez

Age 18

Montclair, California

A dedicated student, skateboarder, and friend

Deshawn Minor

Age 18

Jacksonville, Florida

He would never meet his daughter

Abaas Mohamed

Age 17

Stone Mountain, Georgia

On his way to Georgia State

Jabari Montplaisir

Age 17

Newark, New Jersey

Son. Brother. Best friend. Now gone.

Michael Moore

Age 17

Greenville, Mississippi

A jokester who loved his friends

Corey Moseley Jr.

Age 17

Baltimore, Maryland

He dreamed of finishing high school

Daquon Munson

Age 17

Tyler, Texas

A rising senior, a would-be firefighter

Samuel Nichouls

Age 17

Cleveland, Ohio

“Big sister will always love you”

Luisa Angela Aguilar Olivas

Age 15

Littleton, Colorado

She dreamed of helping immigrants

Samuel Ozuna

Age 17

Manhattan, New York

Always respectful, loved by his friends

Natanael Perez

Age 17

Santa Ana, California

He wanted better for his kids

Daniel Perez-Alvarez

Age 18

Aurora, Illinois

Did his best to help family

Damon Perlie

Age 18

Baltimore, Maryland

Protected and provided for his siblings

Aarion Phillips

Age 17

Saint Louis, Missouri

Simple community service gave him joy

Zykari Rhone

Age 18

Durham, North Carolina

A dad for only a month

Nicholas Rodriguez

Age 17

Aurora, Illinois

An only child, and everyone’s friend

Thomas Romero

Age 17

Lamont, California

“Goofy” 49ers fan with many nicknames

Kianna Rowe

Age 18

Detroit, Michigan

She had big college basketball dreams

Giacomo Shields

Age 6

Queens, New York

He came with mom, neither left

Jacobi Simmons-Lawrence

Age 18

Houston, Texas

Loves sports from screen to court

Ke’Nichi Sims

Age 17

Chicago, Illinois

His grandmother’s favorite, his grandfather’s pride

Cedric Small

Age 16

Killeen, Texas

Nerd trying to be a gangster

Shy'Ree Smalls

Age 17

Savannah, Georgia

He'd escaped gun violence twice before

Kayden Smith

Age 14

New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania

He loved gaming and the outdoors.

Derrick Smith

Age 16

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Gamer with a love of music

Devon Sutton

Age 16

New Iberia, Louisiana

Rap fan had just turned 16

JaBria Tell

Age 14

Meridian, Mississippi

A baby sister, a beautiful soul

Samuel Tesci

Age 18

Vero Beach, Florida

A jokester. A fiancé. A father-figure.

David Thomas

Age 16

Chicago, Illinois

He started his own clothing line

Gerardo Trevino

Age 17

Avondale, Arizona

He liked to post motivational quotes

Payton Velarde

Age 15

Hanahan, South Carolina

Berkeley boy with the rose tattoo

Anthony West

Age 16

Berkeley, Missouri

Beloved brother, athlete and proud uncle.

DaMontay Wheeler

Age 17

Winnsboro, South Carolina

Family misses his home-cooked meals

Christopher Williams

Age 18

Brooklyn, New York

Shot after saving his friend's life

Tahon Williams

Age 18

Saint Louis, Missouri

Always prayed to see another day

Lance Willis

Age 16

Dolton, Illinois

Gone before his daughter was born

Cody Worden

Age 13

Silver Lake, Oregon

A happy, straight-A student athlete

Keondurick Young

Age 16

Fort Worth, Texas

From singing by himself to Spotify

Rodger Young Jr.

Age 16

Memphis, Tennessee

“Funny Tail” was her favorite student.