Student says book may have saved her life in Florida school shooting; best friend was shot next to her

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PARKLAND, Fla. — A student whose best friend was shot beside her says a book may have helped save her own life.

High school junior Samantha Grady told TODAY, who was injured in the shooting, she was working on an assignment about the Holocaust when she heard shots in the hallway. Samantha was with her best friend at the time, and she pushed her toward a big bookshelf.

“We all kind of huddled there together,” she said. “We all clamped really close, tightly together.”

The door to their classroom was locked, she said, but the suspect shot through the glass. She said her best friend yelled at her to grab a book to shield herself.

“We were already situated by the book shelf. She was like, ‘Grab a book, grab a book,’ and so I took a book. It was a tiny book, but I took a book and I held it up. I believe, maybe, the book kind of deterred some of the bullets, so it didn’t hit me so badly,” she said. “She was the one who gave me the idea. She definitely helped me a lot.”

Unfortunately, said Samantha, her friend didn’t survive.

“She didn’t make it,” she said through tears.

The best friend hasn’t yet been identified.

The suspected gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was previously expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems.

On Wednesday, Cruz allegedly turned on the fire alarm, sending many outside, where he fired shot after shot before following fleeing students inside the building, officials said. There, he roamed the halls he knew so well, allegedly targeting those huddled in classrooms.

Cruz was booked on 17 premeditated murder counts in school shooting.

Continuing coverage here.