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A year following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Anthony Borges, the young Venezuelan man who saved the lives of 20 students during the tragedy, is speaking out about his amazing recovery, his memories from that day and his future.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and God too, because it was God who helped me,” Borges said in an exclusive interview with Telemundo 31 in Orlando.
On February 14, Borges was shot five times while trying to close a classroom door to protect the lives of his classmates. The young man survived the bullets, but had to undergo a long recovery process that left him in the hospital for several months.
“There was blood everywhere, bodies, friends lying on the floor,” Borges said.
The last time he stepped foot in a classroom was the day of the shooting. Now, a year after the tragedy, the 16-year-old has undergone 13 operations that left permanent scars on his body. But he carries the deepest wounds in his memories.
“When he shot me, here on my left leg, I fell. But then I got up little by little, kept crawling and he kept shooting at me while I was closing the door,” he said.
When Borges got into the classroom, where 20 of his classmates were, he was being shot at, preventing the shooter from being able to open the door. A teacher who tried to help him died at his side when he was shot in the head.
The young man remembers that it took police almost an hour to enter the school.
“The police didn’t do anything. They stayed outside while the guy was causing harm, and had to do their job,” he said.
The news surprised Anthony’s father as he was buying Valentine’s Day gifts. Roger Borges criticized the Broward County Public Schools’ program called “Promises,” which he says isn’t secure.
“These programs are meant to hide problematic children or children with mental problems, to hide what they did and not report them to the police or federal government,” said Roger Borges, who decided with his wife not to send their children back to school. Both Anthony and his younger brother take online courses.
It has been a difficult year for the Borges family, who left Venezuela four years ago, escaping crisis in their country. Anthony’s parents did not work for 11 months to take care of their son.
Anthony is walking again. He has since returned to the soccer field to continue working to fulfill his life dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.
“I have faith and I have the dream of being a professional player and I know I can achieve it one day,” he said with hope.
His heroism has led him to be on the cover of several magazines and celebrities have sent him messages of encouragement for him to recover. The main character of “Iron Man” sent him a message in which he told him that he was the real “Iron Man.”