ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg community is still mourning the loss of 19-year-old Mohammed Haitham, one of the three people killed in the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola while trying to stop the shooter.
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He graduated from Lakewood High School in 2018 where he excelled in track.
“I can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in a dream. I feel like I’m in a long nightmare and I hope to wake up,” said Haitham’s Track Coach Anthoy Snead.
A feeling shared by so many at Lakewood High School, remembering a young life gone far too soon.
“I termed him from early on "the perfect one" because he just epitomized every perfect thought of a student,” Assistant Principal Susan Alvaro said.
The staff said Haitham is someone whose presence was always felt after he was gone. He most recently surprised his former track coach when he was back in St. Petersburg for Thanksgiving.
“I can’t go to his marriage and I can’t meet his children and things like that, and I think that’s what hurts the worst,” Snead explained.
The track is one place where Haitham shined. But it wasn’t just about his athletic skills. Former teammate Erik Hill said it was the way he brought the team together that stood out the most.
“His character would just show that he’s like a great team leader and everybody just loved the way he was. And no matter what, if somebody goes down, he’s always the one who offers to take place just so he could help the team out,” Hill said.
Now his former teammates are leaning on each other for support.
“Some of us got on the phone with each other — we’re just talking about it, just comforting each other. So we just talked about it then. Even still to this day, I’m still in shock about it,” Hill explained.
A life the staff here says that won’t soon be forgotten within the halls of Lakewood High.
“You just hug, you just hug. What else are we supposed to do. We all love him, we all miss him, so we’re just going to hug,” Alvaro said.
Haitham’s family tells us he was scheduled to finish his flight crew training at the Naval Air Station in just under two weeks