When a gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school in February, 15-year-old Anthony Borges barricaded a classroom door with his body. In doing so, he prevented the gunman from entering the room and saved up to 20 of his classmates. But Anthony was shot five times and has spent the past month and a half undergoing surgeries. On Wednesday, Anthony became the last Parkland survivor to be released from the hospital.
According to NBC News, Anthony has had nine surgeries since the Parkland shooting. In an interview with the Today show's Kerry Sanders, he said he felt lucky to be alive after everything that happened.
"I think I was going to die," Anthony told Sanders.
Despite saving his classmates by using his body as a shield, Anthony told Sanders that he doesn't view himself as a hero. But others disagree — his family's attorney, Alex Arreaza, told Today that Anthony is the "real deal," and his friends reportedly call him "the real Ironman." Anthony has received letters and support from many different corners — including from his family's home country of Venezuela — and a GoFundMe launched by his father raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Although he has been released from the hospital, Anthony is still on the road to recovery, and his parents have moved to a ground-floor apartment unit to facilitate the recovery process. As a result of the shooting, a third of Anthony's lung had to be surgically removed. Moreover, three bullets had torn through his legs — shattering his left upper thigh bone — and another almost hit his liver. But as he spoke to Today from his bed at home, he told Sanders that "I feel good."
His parents feel lucky that Anthony survived the shooting, but they also believe that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School failed to protect their son and his classmates. As a result, they have plans to sue the school. "This is the poster child for everything going wrong," Arreaza told Today.
According to a local CBS affiliate, the exorbitant medical bills Anthony's family faced following the shooting also contributed to their decision to file a lawsuit against the school. Last month, in a notice of intent to sue, Arreaza laid out the rationale for a potential lawsuit.
"The failure of Broward County Public Schools, and of the Principal and School Resource Officer to adequately protect students, and in particular our client, from life-threatening harm were unreasonable, callous and negligent," Arreaza wrote in the notice.
Despite everything that has happened since a gunman first entered his school, Anthony is trying to stay positive — and he has had some good news. Doctors have told him and his family that he will eventually be back to playing soccer after he recovers. Arreaza told The Washington Post that although Anthony is a "little shellshocked right now," he has been "smiling a lot more" since being released from the hospital.
However, his close friend Carlitos Rodriguez echoed Anthony's parents sentiment that the shooting could have been prevented.
"It shouldn't have happened on Feb. 14," Carlitos told Today. "It shouldn't have happened ever, not in my school or any other school."
According to Arreaza, it's unclear for now whether or not Anthony will go back to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. However, hundreds of his classmates did return to the school this week after spring break, and were faced with increased security measures ranging from identification badges to clear plastic book bags.
Anthony may not consider himself a hero, but he reportedly told Arreaza last month that he had do what he did — using his body as a shield — to make sure that his classmates didn't get hurt. Arreaza told The Washington Post that Anthony will likely need physical therapy and treatment for PTSD, but that he's "happy he's home."