Broward County

Parkland’s Cara Loughran touched lives — even an Irish dancer turned NFL star

Cara Loughran, 14, loved Irish dancing and the beach. She was one of 17 students and faculty killed on Feb. 14, 2018, by a shooter at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Cara Loughran, 14, loved Irish dancing and the beach. She was one of 17 students and faculty killed on Feb. 14, 2018, by a shooter at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Update: Visitation and funeral information was incorrect in a previous version of this story. New details are below.

Cara Loughran was only 14, a high school freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, but she already had a shared passion with an NFL running back.

Both Cara, who loved going to the beach, and Baltimore Ravens’ Alex Collins, who sees his action on the gridiron, had studied Irish dance at Coral Springs’ Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida.

Cara’s death, on Valentine’s Day after a 19-year-old former student shot and killed 17 students and teachers with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at Stoneman Douglas, devastated so many.

Among them: the dance school and the football player. Both took to social media to share grief and offered messages of support to Cara’s family.

“Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face,” Drake School said on Facebook. “We are heartbroken as we send our love and support to her family during this horrible time.”

Collins, according to The Baltimore Sun, had Irish dance training at the Drake School when he attended South Plantation High.

On Thursday, Collins posted on Twitter: “The school shooting yesterday hit home. We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

Cara’s aunt Lindsay Fontana responded to the outpouring of grief from many others on her Facebook post. Cara’s brother Liam, 17, a senior, was also at the school on the day of the shooting. Hours later, outside the school, he was waiting for word on his sister with their mother, Denise Loughran.

“While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING. This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people’s families,” Fontana wrote. “This morning, I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted. Cara was 14 years old. She was an excellent student, she loved the beach and she loved our girls.”

Cara’s survivors include her parents, brother Liam, and grandparents.

The family requests that services are to be private for family and friends.

aunt Lindsay Fontana

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