Jul 6, 2023 - News

Parkland families visit Stoneman Douglas building before it's demolished

Angela Tanner rests against the fence that surrounds the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

More than five years after 17 students and faculty were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their family members were granted access to visit the site.

Driving the news: Family visits to the 1200 building of the Stoneman Douglas campus began Wednesday and will continue for the next few weeks until Broward County Public Schools demolishes it.

Catch up fast: The classroom building where the mass shooting took place had been preserved as evidence pending the murder trial of the gunman and a separate trial for the former school resource officer, who was recently found not guilty of child negligence for his alleged inaction.

  • Jurors in the case of gunman Nikolas Cruz toured the building before he was sentenced to life in prison without parole last November. They saw bullet hole-riddled walls, bloodstained floors and brown rose petals from that tragic Valentine's Day in 2018.

What they're saying: Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex was killed that day, tweeted that he will visit the school Thursday and sit at Alex's desk in the English class where he was fatally shot.

  • "I know it will be [heartbreaking] but part of Alex is still in that building," Schachter wrote. "It's another chance for me to connect with him and tell him how much I love and miss him."

What's next: After the family tours are complete, the State Attorney's Office will hand the building over to the Broward school district, which will handle the "process for all of the other staff members and former students who were present on the day of the mass shooting," CNN reports.

  • Interim Superintendent Earlean Smiley has said she plans to quickly demolish the building after the district receives ownership, while Parkland Mayor Rich Walker said a memorial is likely for the site, the Sun Sentinel reports.
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