Florida teacher who helped save lives in mass shooting grew up in Michigan

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 17:46:32-05

"He's such a strong guy, a good guy. Always the type of person who thinks of everyone else except himself first."

That's how Pamela Porter describes her son-in-law Ernie Rospierski, a teacher at Stoneman Douglas
HS in south Florida. He jumped into action when a gunman went on the attack Wednesday afternoon.
Just a few hours later, Rospierski told her about the terrifying moments inside that building.

"It was almost dismissal time .. the fire alarm went off. Students were walking out of the classroom and he heard the gunshots. The door had shut behind him and locked .. he couldn't get the kids back in the classroom ... so he pushed them into a small alcove," says Porter.

She says Rospierski and those students were on the third floor. His cheek had been grazed by one of the bullets. Then, he saw the gunman.

"He heard him reloading. He told the students to run, just run down the stairwell," says Porter.

According to Porter, they all ran. Rospierski hid in the bathroom and eventually made it outside.  She says he recognized the shooter as one of his former students.

"He said there were discipline problems with him, but he didn't have any in his class," she says.

Porter's daughter, Andrea, is Ernie Rospierski's wife. Andrea is an English teacher at the same school. She was in another building at the time of the shooting and managed to get out safely with her students.

Porter is grateful her loved ones are okay, but says her heart is with everyone who is hurting. She also praises all the heroes who jumped into action to help others, including her son-in-law.

"He was telling me I did what I had to do. I wanted to make sure those kids were ok."