Parkland shooting: Troopers bought flight to funeral for friend - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Parkland shooting: Troopers bought flight to funeral for friend of victim

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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 Florida home 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.

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, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 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.

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.

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."

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."

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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