Lorenzo Prado said he was “unjustly cuffed and held at gunpoint.”
Tallahassee, FL – A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the Valentine’s Day mass-shooting at his school complained that he was “unjustly” detained by police just because he matched the shooter’s description.
High school junior Lorenzo Prado recounted the incident during a press conference at the Florida State Capitol on Wednesday, where hundreds of students convened to demand legislative changes that would end the possibility of future school shootings, the Huffington Post reported.
Prado said that that he was inside the school auditorium’s sound booth when the emergency alarm was triggered.
“I decided I would stay behind because what could possibly go wrong?” he told the crowd.
Prado explained that he soon heard people banging on the auditorium doors, so he ran downstairs to let a crowd of about one hundred people inside.
“I was scared, and I ran to the safest place possible, which was the sound booth again. I start to pace back and forth because I did not know what was going on ― and the people in the audience saw me,” he recalled.
“They saw me, and they panicked because I was matching the same description of Nikolas Cruz. I had the same clothes, same hair color, same facial structure somewhat. … And they reported me.”
Prado said he was unaware of the alarm he had unintentionally caused, and he remained hidden in the sound booth.
“Then the door started to rattle,” he said. “At first, the only thought that came to my mind was, ‘I’m going to die, the shooter is going to kill me.’”
A SWAT team burst into the room. Prado says that they ordered his hands up, and he instead reached down to put his phone in his pocket, and the officers ordered his hands up again.
“I found out that they thought it was me that killed the 17 people,” he said. “Not trying to be one of those news stories of someone dying wrongfully because they refused to put their hands up, I just dropped my phone at that moment and kept going.”
Prado expressed disbelief that officers detained him for simply matching the description of the school shooter.
“I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me,” he said, before pausing to collect himself. “I was tossed to the ground. I was unjustly cuffed and held at gunpoint for the degrading and depreciating action of the disturbed individual Nikolas Cruz.”
A policewoman then watched over him for the remainder of the evening, he said.
“I knew any move I made would be the end of my life,” he told the crowd.
Prado was ultimately released, and was among the students who met with Florida lawmakers on Wednesday to demand gun control legislation.
“We will make change in this country, and if not today, tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the day after that, and the day after that until we achieve the change we want in this country,” Prado said. “We students will keep fighting for our right to live.