Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere reacts to shooting at old high school

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The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday meant a heavy heart for Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.

The 24-year-old Pembroke Pines, Florida native spent two years at the high school before transferring his junior year to a prep school in Connecticut. He only learned of the horrible tragedy after receiving a text message from a friend and then watched the coverage at home with his girlfriend.

“They always say it [hits] close to home, but when it’s actually home it’s pretty tough to see,” said Gostisbehere, who grew up a 10-minute drive from the school. “I haven’t really processed it yet. I still can’t believe it. I was just in that school. I was only in there for two years, but I felt safe at that school every day I was there. Just to see something like that happen and to those kids and those teachers and whatnot, it sucks.”

[Canucks, Panthers hold moment of silence after Florida school shooting]

Authorities say that 17 people died in the shooting and 14 were wounded before 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz was apprehended by police. Cruz has since been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Gostisbehere said he knew of one of the victims, Aaron Feis, a football coach who witnesses said used himself as a shield to protect students during the shooting.

“It’s your high school you went to. It’s obviously a tragic event,” Gostisbehere said. “These things keep happening. It just sucks.”

MORE: Anthony Rizzo leaves Cubs camp to be with friends, family in Parkland, Florida

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.