Several Parkland school shooting survivors say they're suffering from PTSD

/ CBS News

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emely Vazquez says she was a carefree happy girl prior to Februrary 14, 2018.

"Before this, I was in the happiest place I could ever be," Vazquez told CBS Miami. "I was extremely happy."

Then came the tragedy that killed 17, wounded 17 more and left hundreds, like Vazquez, scarred for life.

Parkland school shooting More

More in Parkland school shooting

"It got very depressing," she said.

Vazquez is one of eight MSD students who were in the Freshman Building that day who are suing the Broward School District and Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) claiming they suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the fear and violence they encountered.

They allege in the lawsuit that BSO and Broward Schools didn't do enough to protect the campus, deal with confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz prior to the shooting or confront him during the attack.

"They have a duty to protect (students, teachers and staff) in all aspects and they failed miserably," said attorney Pat Lawlor, who is representing the students and their families.

Vazquez says she remembers hearing Cruz stalking the building.

"I remember hearing stomping on the stairs, like he was trying to make his presence known or something," she said.

Vazquez said her teacher got her and her classmates to shut off the lights and sit quietly in a corner, even as Cruz shot out her classroom's windows

"We didn't know if we were gonna live or not," she said. "Like, 'This is it, we're done."'

But she vividly remembers police escorting her and her classmates from the building and seeing victims' bodies covered with body bags.

"These bodies pushed up against the wall and all these police trying to guard those bodies so that we couldn't see," she said.

Sixteen months later, Emely says she's not the same girl seen in a happy photo taken just a few weeks prior to the violence.

Emely's mother, Beatriz Colon, says her daughter suffers from depression, anxiety and is frequently triggered by sounds or events that recall the shooting.

She's on medication, regularly sees a therapist and is often withdrawn. Emely says she suffers from PTSD. "This is something that's gonna stick with her now for the rest of her life," Colon said.

The lawsuit asks for damages to cover medical and related costs, loss of income, etc. Colon believes her daughter will need lots of treatment.

"Long-term, she's gonna need the help, gonna need the support," Colon said.

Lawlor said the victims are suing because many of the survivors are still suffering and the concern is how they'll get mental health care in the future.

"We can't forget these people are suffering from these ailments from this tragic day," Lawlor said. "The future of these young people when they go away to college and are there on their own and these triggers hit, how are they gonna deal with it?"

Emely felt especially close to teacher Scott Beigel, who died in the shooting. She's kept notes and one of the last tests from his class.

She also has a feeling of survivors' guilt about those who didn't make it out alive.

"They were very friendly people," she said. "They were so sweet. You almost feel guilty that they were the ones who died. Like you should have taken it for them instead."

CBS Miami was told by both the BSO and Broward Schools that they don't comment on pending litigation.

First published on June 19, 2019 / 7:00 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

New York set to adopt aggressive emission reduction goals

Under the legislation, New York would generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040

6M ago

Son charged in mob father's slaying, failed attack on brother

Son of a reputed Bonanno associate gunned down at a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx was behind his father's hit, and an earlier failed attack on his own brother

10M ago

House votes to block Trump's military transgender ban

The Trump administration's policy bars people who have undergone gender transition from enlisting

17M ago

EPA chief to make "major policy announcement"

The announcement is expected to be a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations

20M ago

Several Parkland school shooting survivors say they have PTSD

Point fingers in lawsuit at school system and sheriff's office, saying they weren't adequately protected

40M ago

New York set to adopt aggressive emission reduction goals

Under the legislation, New York would generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040

6M ago

House votes to block Trump's military transgender ban

The Trump administration's policy bars people who have undergone gender transition from enlisting

17M ago

EPA chief to make "major policy announcement"

The announcement is expected to be a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations

20M ago

Transcript: Anna Fifield on "Intelligence Matters"

Washington Post journalist and author Anna Fifield has a new book on Kim Jong-Un's surprising rise to power

1H ago

Kim Jong-un's surprising rise to power: Author Anna Fifield

"On his eighth birthday, he was presented with a general's uniform, complete with gold buttons and epaulets," Fifield told Michael Morell, on this week's episode of "Intelligence Matters"

1H ago

Saudi crown prince should face probe over Khashoggi killing, UN official says

Special Rapporteur releases 101-page report blaming Saudi Arabia for journalists murder, and saying there's "credible evidence" heir to Saudi throne should be investigated

updated 22M ago

Starving polar bear wanders into Siberian city looking for food

Hundreds of miles from where it should be hunting, emaciated bear seen poking around on industrial estate for food

2H ago

Australia's ABC News issues humorous response to Trump tweet

"G'day! As much as we appreciate the shout-out, we think you meant @ABC?" wrote the broadcaster in response

11H ago

Ocasio-Cortez claims U.S. is running "concentration camps"

The Democratic congresswoman from New York worries Americans could lose the U.S. "to an authoritarian and fascist presidency"

13H ago

What we know about tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic

At least seven tourists have died so far this year in the Dominican Republic after arriving on the island healthy

15H ago

Read the first chapter of Elin Hilderbrand's new book "Summer of '69"

In her latest novel Hilderbrand sets well-to-do Massachusetts family against the backdrop of the tumultuous summer of 1969

18M ago

Highest-grossing movies of all time, ranked

What's the highest-grossing movie of all time? It might be one of your favorites

Jun 4 27 photos

"Sex, power and control": NXIVM sex cult case heading to N.Y. jury

Women testified that they were duped into joining a secretive sub-sect of the purported self-help group, branded and groomed for sex

12H ago

John Cusack apologizes for retweeting apparent anti-Semitic image

"Made a mistake retweeting that — as I said — and sorry," he later tweeted

13H ago

Ruth Bader Ginsburg earns MTV Movie & TV Award

RBG had some tough competition in the category — including Serena Williams

18H ago

Why Facebook is minting its own currency

Social media company, no stranger to controversy, is diving into the brave new world of virtual money

16H ago

Google commits $1 billion to ease housing crisis in the Bay Area

CEO Sundar Pichai said the internet company will pave the way for 20,000 new homes in the region over the next decade

16H ago

Meet Facebook's Libra, a digital currency for the social network

The company is partnering with big names like Visa, Mastercard, Uber and Spotify to create a new global cryptocurrency

13H ago

U.S. continues battle against ex-CIA software engineer tied to WikiLeaks

Joshua Adam Schulte was indicted on 13 counts in 2018, including the illegal transmission of lawfully possessed national defense information as well as three charges related to child pornography

Jun 17

Elon Musk says he's "deleted" his Twitter account

Musk's account is still listed as active, however, and he changed his display name to "Daddy DotCom" on Father's Day

Jun 17

Starving polar bear wanders into Siberian city looking for food

Hundreds of miles from where it should be hunting, emaciated bear seen poking around on industrial estate for food

2H ago

Bear killed in Oregon after officials say it became too friendly

The bear had become "habituated" or accustomed to the area after people left food for it

11H ago

Sled dogs slog through meltwater on Greenland ice sheet

"Challenging conditions" for researchers collecting instruments used to measure sea ice brought on by "very warm conditions" in the Arctic

15H ago

Why Stonehenge "waste material" may be "Holy Grail" for geologists

No one really knows how or why Stonehenge was created — but this cylinder of rock could provide some answers

17H ago

Warming waters may be changing shark migration patterns

An 8-year-old boy was bit by a shark in the third attack this season along the North Carolina coast

Jun 17

Dozens of farmworkers in Calif. vineyard exposed to pesticide

Three brought to hospital; they were all near field that was being sprayed when wind shifted

1H ago

Flesh-eating bacteria becoming more common on East Coast

The dangerous bacteria can infect wounds in your skin — and even the seafood you eat

12H ago

Another cancer-causing chemical found in blood-pressure pills

Online pharmacy tells FDA it found carcinogenic solvent in valsartan heart drugs made by companies including Novartis

12H ago

Potential measles exposure reported at New Jersey airport

International traveler who has been diagnosed with measles was at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 29

14H ago

Study: Obesity rate falling for preschoolers who receive food aid

Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016 — the latest data available — from 16% in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported

18H ago

Dog returned home after it was allegedly stolen by Wag walker

A New York City couple is hoping to raise awareness after their beloved Shih Tzu Yorkie, Benny, was stolen from their Battery Park apartment by a Wag​ dog walker

12H ago

Another cancer-causing chemical found in blood-pressure pills

Online pharmacy tells FDA it found carcinogenic solvent in valsartan heart drugs made by companies including Novartis

12H ago

Walmart filed more drone patents than Amazon in 2018

As the two retail giants crank up their speedy delivery wars, they filed a total of 110 patents for drone technology

12H ago

Why investment pros are worried even as stocks near new highs

The S&P 500 came with 1% of its all-time high on Tuesday, but the market may only be climbing proverbial wall of worry

14H ago

Why Facebook is minting its own currency

Social media company, no stranger to controversy, is diving into the brave new world of virtual money

16H ago

Son charged in mob father's slaying, failed attack on brother

Son of a reputed Bonanno associate gunned down at a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx was behind his father's hit, and an earlier failed attack on his own brother

10M ago

UN: MBS should be probed in Khashoggi killing

A new United Nations report on the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi recommends an investigation of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. His role has been a source of speculation since Khashoggi was murdered. The report says "there is credible evidence meriting further investigation." Holly Williams reports.

updated 22M ago 02:13

Several Parkland school shooting survivors say they have PTSD

Point fingers in lawsuit at school system and sheriff's office, saying they weren't adequately protected

40M ago

Teens killed friend after man offered $9M to record "rape and murder"

Indiana man implicated in the murder of an Alaska teenager had allegedly promised millions of dollars to the teens who killed her in exchange for images of the killing

42M ago

"Sex, power and control": NXIVM sex cult case heading to N.Y. jury

Women testified that they were duped into joining a secretive sub-sect of the purported self-help group, branded and groomed for sex

12H ago

NASA to land 1st woman on moon as part of Artemis mission

NASA's project aims to bring human beings back to the moon by 2024

Jun 16

NASA spots "Star Trek" Starfleet logo on Mars

Hopefully, it finds some aliens sporting Vulcan salutes next

Jun 14

Earth approaching "meteor swarm" eyed in past impact

Scientists hope to study the Taurid meteor shower closely, in hopes of better predicting the risk of a future impact

Jun 12

SpaceX launches 3 Earth-observation satellites

The three Radarsat satellites will monitor resources and the effects of climate change across Canada

Jun 12

Jupiter's largest moons visible with binoculars in June

NASA has a message for space lovers this month: Look up

Jun 11

Photographer Dave Engledow, the "World's Best Father"

He calls himself the "World's Best Father," and he's got the pictures of himself and his daughter, Alice, to prove it

Jun 16 16 photos

Forbes: World's top 20 billionaires

Forbes has updated their billionaires list, detailing the richest people around the world.

Jun 13 21 photos

Tony Awards 2019: Red carpet looks from your favorite stars

See Broadway stars walk the red carpet at Radio City Music Hall in New York City at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards

Jun 9 39 photos

Jayme Closs case: Recently released evidence photos

At Jake Patterson's sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed a select few evidence photos to the court and asked that Patterson be sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Jayme Closs' parents and the 13-year-old's kidnapping

Jun 8 14 photos

Summer music 2019

It's summertime – time for music at festivals and venues across the country

Jun 8 58 photos

Popular

Trump paints dire picture if he loses 2020

President Trump launched his bid for a second term by painting a scary picture of America's future if he is not re-elected. The president rallied with thousands of supporters in Orlando to officially start the campaign, while he faced turmoil back in Washington. He accused his critics of "un-American conduct," lashed out at the press and claimed that Democrats "want to destroy our country." Weijia Jiang reports.

updated 16M ago 02:48

Trump rally lacks enthusiasm of past events

CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett attended President Trump's rally in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday where he officially launched his 2020 campaign. Garrett joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss his exclusive conversation with the man running the president's re-election campaign, Brad Parscale, and something he witnessed at Tuesday's rally that he hasn't before seen at a Trump campaign event.

updated 9M ago 03:27

UN: MBS should be probed in Khashoggi killing

A new United Nations report on the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi recommends an investigation of Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. His role has been a source of speculation since Khashoggi was murdered. The report says "there is credible evidence meriting further investigation." Holly Williams reports.

updated 22M ago 02:13

Eye Opener: Trump launches 2020 campaign

The president officially begins his re-election effort with a vow to "keep America great." Also, a just-released UN report recommends an investigation into Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. All that and all that matters in today's Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.

updated 11M ago 01:58

Trump campaign kickoff

President Trump gave his official re-election campaign rally on Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida, touching on many of the themes from the 2016 campaign. Ed O'Keefe and Major Garrett join CBSN to discuss.

8H ago 09:11