Northern Ireland news

Mourners queue at Florida funeral home to pay their respects to Irish dancer (14) who was killed in school shooting

Mourners queue up at Kraeer Funeral Home in Florida to pay their respects to Cara Loughran, a 14-year-old Irish dancer - who has family in Co Antrim - who was killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida
Marie Louise McConville

Crowds of mourners have queued outside a funeral home in Florida to pay their respects to a teenage girl - with family in Northern Ireland - who was killed in a mass shooting at her school in the city last week.

A day after Cara Loughran should have turned 15 on Wednesday, her family were being comforted by friends and supporters at Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs where a visitation was taking place.

Large crowds queued around the funeral parlour on Thursday to wait their turn to mourn the 14-year-old who died following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday.

The teenager, whose grandparents, Paddy and Ellie, and extended family, live in Toomebridge in Co Antrim, died alongside 16 others when a lone gunman entered the campus and went on a shooting spree.

Former pupil, Nikolas Cruz (19), who had been expelled from the school, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder – charges that carry the death penalty in Florida.

Cara's father emigrated from Toomebridge to the US 20 years ago.

It is understood Cara's older brother, Liam (17) witnessed the shooting but survived.

A fundraising page set up in memory of Cara has so far raised more than $31,000.

Many of those who gathered at Kraeer Funeral Home wore small, purple ribbons in recognition of Cara's favourite colour.

The ribbon has also been worn by numerous Irish dancing clubs around the US in remembrance of Cara, who was an Irish dancer at the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida.

One classmate who arrived to pay his respects, told the local newspaper that he would remember Cara as "kinda quiet" but always smiling.

"When she got an idea, she would just smile and smile. It was amazing," he said.

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