Broward County

Joaquin ‘Guac’ Oliver, killed in Parkland, loved his family (and soccer, too)

Joaquin Oliver loved soccer, his family and his friends.

The 17-year-old student, known as “Guac,” was from Venezuela and became a U.S. citizen last year.

Guac was one of the 17 students who died last Wednesday in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

His girlfriend, Victoria Gonzalez, told el Nuevo Herald that after hours of anguished waiting, family members were told by the FBI that Oliver had died.

Although Oliver and his family moved to the United States 14 years ago, the teen kept in close touch with his Venezuelan roots.

On his social network posts, he is seen wearing the T-shirt of the national Venezuelan soccer selection. He’s also known to have participated in one of the South Florida protests against President Nicolás Maduro.

One image of him and a friend wearing the soccer shirt showed the messages, “Where my heart is,” and “Who tires, loses” — one of the slogans of anti-government protests in 2014.

Their posts also showed posters with the words, “USA is With Venezuela,” and “Gochos,” the nickname for natives of the three Venezuelan Andean states.

Unlike most teenagers, Oliver had strong bonds with his family, and his Instagram account has many photos of his mother.

“Happy birthday to my rock. Without her I would be nothing. She has taught me everything that I know about respect and life itself. I love you,” he wrote in an Instagram post in October 2016.

Another post showed him as a little boy with his grandmother and the message, “I know you’re someplace over there looking at me. I love you. I promise to ask your forgiveness for not seeing you. And when I do, we’ll cook breakfast every morning and play table games all day.”

His sister, Andrea Ghersi, posted a note on Facebook Wednesday asking about his whereabouts. “My brother was in the school during the shooting. We’ve heard nothing more from him since then,” said the post, which was shared 8,000 times.

After learning of his death, several friends and others used social media networks to record their grief.

“Thanks for the memories. See you soon. Rest in peace,” wrote Ryann McGowann, alongside four photos of he and Oliver.

“Wish I had taken the bullet for you,” wrote Chad Williams.

Another post by “Shehatesjuju” said, “This does not seem real. I am mystified. I know you will be taking care of us. Everything I will do will be for you and your family. I love you.”

Follow Johanna A. Álvarez on Twitter: @jalvarez8


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