Anthony Borges, 15, was the last Parkland school shooting victim to be released from the hospital this past Wednesday, and has been labeled “Iron Man,” in reference to his heroic actions on the day of the shooting that is being credited with helping save lives.
Borges barricaded a classroom door shut with his body, and was shot five times. He had to have a third of his lung removed. One bullet came dangerously close to his liver and three hit his legs.
His father said his soccer career is over, and the family had to move from their upstairs apartment to a single level home, as Anthony cannot climb stairs. Both parents have also had to quit their jobs to care for him, and have expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support nationwide.
On Friday, just two days after his release from the hospital, Borges participated in a press briefing for the first time since the shooting. Nothing was reported from the press conference about gun control or the NRA – but Borges instead laid the blame for the shooting straight at the feet of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County School District.
From the Sun Sentinel:
He did not speak. Instead, his lawyer, Alex Arreaza, read a statement from the teen criticizing the Broward County School District and Broward Sheriff’s Office for policies that he said allowed gunman Nikolas Cruz to get a series of second chances, rather than being dealt with so he couldn’t have shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, leaving 17 dead.
“I know I’ve been called Iron Man,” Arreaza said, reading the boy’s statement. “And while I’m honored to be called this, I am not. I’m a 15-year-old who’s been shot five times, while Broward Sheriff’s deputies waited outside and decided that they weren’t going to come in the building.”
Addressing himself to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and School Superintendent Robert Runcie, Borges’ statement said, “I want to thank you for visiting me in the hospital. But I want to say that both of you failed us students and parents and teachers alike on so many levels.”
He criticized an agreement between the sheriff’s office and school district intended to prevent children from being arrested, which he said created a permissive atmosphere that allowed Cruz to remain free despite repeated incidents and warning signs.
“I want to ask you today to please end your policy and agreement that you do not arrest people committing crimes at our schools,” the boy said. “I want all of us to move forward and end the environment that allowed people like Nikolas Cruz to fall through the cracks. You knew he was a problem years ago and you did nothing.
“He should have never been in school. I ask you today to make a commitment to protect the students and teachers and provide a safe learning environment. People are tired of empty promises that allow this environment to remain.”
The Borges family said they did not appreciate the sheriff having pictures taken during his hospital visit, which ended up being widely publicized. “The family is still upset about it,” Arreaza said. “They didn’t appreciate it.”
Anthony’s father, Royer Borges, also blamed the school district and the sheriff’s office for the shooting, and the family has filed a notice of intent to sue the school district.
“My son’s soccer career is over, and it’s all their fault,” he said.