Parkland shooting: Troopers bought flight for friend of victim

Two New York state troopers paid for the flight of a devastated young woman trying to reach Florida to attend the funeral of a childhood friend who was killed in the school shooting in Parkland last week.

Jordana Judson, 23, said she desperately wanted to fly back to her home state after learning that friend Meadow Pollack, 18, had been killed along with 16 other people in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.

Here are the 17 victims of the shooting: 

17 PHOTOS
Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
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Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Scott Beige - Geography Teacher

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth James Watt​​​​​​​

Chris Hixon - athletic director

Photo Credit: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

15-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff

Photo Credit: Florida Youth Soccer Association

14-year-old Alex Schachter

Photo Credit : Getty 

14-year-old Cara Loughran

Photo Credit: Facebook

17-year-old Helena Ramsey

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Alaina Petty

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Gina Montalto

Photo Credit: Facebook

15-year-old Peter Wang
18-year-old Meadow Pollack (left)

Student Jaime Guttenberg

Photo Credit: Facebook 

Student Martin Duque

Photo Credit: Martin Duque/GoFundMe

17-year-old student Nick Dworet

Photo Credit: Instagram 

Football coach Aaron Feis.

Photo Credit: MSDfootball.com

16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup

Student Joaquin Oliver

Photo Credit: Facebook

Student Luke Hoyer

Photo Credit: Facebook 

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Judson's family had long been friends with the Pollacks: "They were like our second family our whole lives," she said.

After hearing about the shooting Wednesday, Judson showed up to New York's LaGuardia Airport the next day shaken and in tears.

"As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying," she told NBC News.

That's when New York State Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski approached her to ask whether she was OK, she said.

Troy told NBC News that Judson "was in tears and very upset" when he and Karasinki spotted her at the airport.

Image: Memorial for Meadow Pollack

Judson told the troopers that she had a family friend involved in the shooting and needed help finding where to get a ticket.

"I couldn't even get out the words. Security people were bringing me tissues," she said.

The troopers showed her the way inside, where she spoke with a JetBlue Airways agent, she said.

Judson was told that a one-way flight would cost nearly $700, a price she couldn't afford. She said she pleaded with the agent to lower the price or see whether she could get a bereavement discount, but the agent wasn't able to accommodate her request.

"It was one flight that separated me from going home to Florida," Judson said.

The JetBlue agent said that if Judson couldn't purchase the ticket, the airline would have to give it up for another potential passenger.

That's when Troy and Karasinski decided to help.

"I look up, and the state troopers are standing there, and they're both handing over their credit cards," she recalled. "I'm telling them that they don't have to do this. This is crazy. They said: 'It's already done. We want you to be home with their families. This is a tough time.'"

"It was very heartwarming. It made my heart full and heavy at the same time," Judson added.

Related: Florida school shooting: These are the 17 victims

Judson said she was incredibly grateful to be given the chance to grieve alongside Pollack's family at the funeral on Friday and to support her own brother, who still lives in Florida and is close with Meadow's brother.

Rabbi Avraham Friedman, who sat Shiva with the Pollack family, confirmed to NBC News on Monday that Judson made it to Florida to be with the Pollacks.

"It's definitely painful. I don't even want to go back to New York," said Judson. "I just want to stay with my family, and my poor brother is so heartbroken."

Troy sympathized with her situation. "The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them. You're going to go through anything to get there," he said.

"I know. I have five little sisters. If that was one of them, I'd want someone to help them out," he said of Judson. "It was a sigh of relief. She was more in shock that we paid for her ticket."

Image: Jordana Judson

Troy added that he felt "it was the right thing to do." He said he and Karasinski "both agreed if it was anybody in our family that was trying to get down there that we would do anything that we could to try to help."

Related: How to help the victims of the Florida school shooting — and avoid scammers

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told NBC News in a statement: "As members of the State Police and law enforcement, we take an oath to protect and serve. We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter."

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Vigils held after deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida
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Vigils held after deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida
People attend a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Students mourn during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A woman lights a candle during a vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Residents attend a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A man reacts during a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Daniel Journey (C), an 18-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, attends a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at his school, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. Journey said he lost two friends he had known and grown up with since they were seven years old in the shooting. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A handwritten note to a lost friend is surrounded by candles and flowers at a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A student places a candle with other tributes at a vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Mourners react during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Mourners react during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A student rests his head against his mother as they attend a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Students mourn at a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
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