Mets RH reliever Anthony Swarzak, who was born and raised in Broward County, FL -- where Wednesday's mass shooting took the lives of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School -- discussed the shooting on Thursday morning.
Swarzak's sister and cousins attended the school where the shooting happened, and his cousins still live in the area.
"I just started making phone calls to friends in the area," Swarzak said. "I grew up with some people that are baseball coaches down there. They know a lot of those Stoneman Douglas kids. From what I heard, all the baseball team is accounted for down there. That's not the case for some of the coaches and stuff, but, it's a time to reflect and to hopefully grow as a community. And try to get better at, just loving eachother."
"I played against that school growing up," Swarzak continued. "My sister went to that school, I have two cousins that graduated from that school. My heart -- it aches for those families, for all of Broward county, for all the United States.This is a sad time that we're living in. We all have to find a way to rise above it. Love conquers all. It really does. And it's a really sad thing."
Swarzak also discussed the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who reportedly carried out the attack with an AR-15 style firearm.
"It seems like he was on the radar," Swarzak said. "I know there were some things in place to try to keep him separated from the people. Unfortuantely he got a weapon on campus, and people lost their lives. I'm more interested in the stories of the heroes of the day, and the people who tried to sacrifice their lives to help others."
One of those heroes Swarzak alluded to was a football coach at the school who reportedly lost his life while shielding students from gunfire. And Swarzak offered support to the family of the coach.
"From what I heard, he was one of those coaches that really did everything he could for every person he came across, every student he tried to mentor and try to help grow as an adult and as a man," Swarzak said. "It's not a coincidence that that type of guy is the person that pays the ultimate sacrifice. ... I just want his family to know that we're all thinking about them. And if there's anyting that anybody needs, they can reach out. Absolutely."
Mets minor league INF Luis Guillorme, who lives about 30 minutes away and went to school about 15 minutes away from where the shooting happened, also spoke on Thursday morning.
"Hearing that happening was really tough when I woke up yesterday..." Guillorme said. "It's crazy that it can happen that close to home."
Anthony Swarzak, born and raised in Broward County, Florida reacts to the school shooting in his hometown pic.twitter.com/Zt2yEU9ySN- SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) February 15, 2018