Parkland teen hailed as 'hero' speaks out for first time


Anthony Borges, the young man credited with saving up to 20 lives during the Parkland, Florida, school rampage, doesn't believe he's a hero.

Finally home from the hospital after nine surgeries, Borges, 15, told the "Today" show's Kerry Sanders in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that he simply feels lucky to be alive.

"I think I was going to die," he said.

Borges was shot five times during the Feb. 14 school shooting, which killed 17 people. He barricaded a classroom door and used his body as a human shield as the bullets flew, protecting a class full of students from harm.

His parents, too, feel fortunate that their son survived. But they also think the systems to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School failed that day — and now plan to sue the school.

"This is the poster child for everything going wrong," family attorney Alex Arreaza told "Today" on Wednesday. The family is set to hold a press conference soon to announce their lawsuit against the school for negligence.

Borges has been flooded with boxes upon boxes of letters from strangers thanking him for his bravery, some from as far away as the family's home country of Venezuela.

As a result of the shooting, a third of his lung had to be removed. One bullet came dangerously close to his liver, and three others tore through his legs.

"He's a hero," Arreaza said. "He's the real deal."

His family has moved from their walk-up apartment to a ground-floor unit to accommodate Borges as he continues to recover. But the future looks promising: Doctors have told the family Borges will be back to playing soccer eventually.

And Borges has kept a positive outlook.

"I feel good," he told "Today" from the bed at his home where he is recuperating.

Former Stoneman Douglas student Nicholas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of pre-meditated murder in the shooting.

Like Borges' parents, his close friend, Carlitos Rodriguez, who was on lockdown that day, believes the massacre could have been prevented.

"It shouldn't have happened on February 14. It shouldn't have happened ever, not in my school or any other school," Rodriguez told "Today."

Originally published