When high school senior Carly Novell hid in a closet during Wednesday’s attack in Parkland, it was nearly 70 years after her grandfather did the exact same thing to survive a mass shooting.
In September 1949, 28-year-old World War II veteran Howard Unruh gunned down 13 people as he walked along a street in Camden, N.J. The attack, known as the “Walk of Death,” is said to be the first mass murder in modern U.S. history.
Novell’s grandpa, Charles Cohen, was just 12 and survived by hiding in a closet above his parent’s drugstore. His parents, Maurice and Rose, were killed, as well as Maurice’s mother, Minnie.
Unruh was later arrested after a standoff with police. He was found to be criminally insane and, following 60 years of confinement, he died in 2009 at the age of 88.
Cohen also died in 2009, age 72.
On Wednesday, Cohen’s granddaughter found herself in an eerily similar situation when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She ran to a closet, where she hid with other students.
“I was in between two people panicking and I was trying to make sure they were okay,” she told Inside Edition.
Novell’s mom, Merri, said she was thinking of her late dad’s legacy as she raced to the school.
“When I was driving here and I was praying for her safety and everybody else’s safety, I was talking to my father and I was saying, ‘How can this happen again?’” she said.
In a tweet sent on Thursday morning, Carly described the parallels and said “something has to change.”
This is my grandpa. When he was 12 years old, he hid in a closet while his family was murdered during the first mass shooting in America. Almost 70 years later, I also hid in a closet from a murderer. These events shouldn’t be repetitive. Something has to change. #douglasstrong pic.twitter.com/nDctTNlUNs— carly (@car_nove) February 15, 2018
Another student, 17-year-old Hannah Carbocci, also found herself trapped in a classroom during the attack.
She reached out to her 19-year-old sister, Kaitlin, in a series of 72 text messages.
Hannah told her sister how scared she was and how much she loved her family. Kaitlin informed her sister that their father had called police, letting her know that help was on the way.