NATIONAL NEWS

Parkland Shooting Victims Are Remembered In Silence

Feb 14, 2019, 3:33 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:15 pm
Bella Montecino, who left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting, and Makenzie Hen...
Bella Montecino, who left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the shooting, and Makenzie Henser (L-R), who is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, comfort each other as they remember those lost during a mass shooting at the school on February 14, 2019 in Parkland, Florida. A year ago on Feb. 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 14 students and three staff members were killed during the mass shooting. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and other schools across the U.S. bowed their heads in a moment of silence and took part in volunteer projects Thursday to mark the anniversary of the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives. But for many Parkland students, the tragedy was still so raw they couldn’t bring themselves to set foot in the building.

Fewer than 300 of the 3,200 students at the high school showed up for what was only a half-day, with classes cut short so that the teenagers would not be there around 2:20 p.m., the traumatic moment last year when gunfire erupted.

Senior Spencer Bloom skipped school to spend the day with students from the history class he was in during the shooting. He said he struggles with panic attacks and feared he might have one if he went in to school.

“There’s all this emotion and it’s all being concentrated back on one day,” Bloom said.

The massacre on Feb. 14, 2018 — Valentine’s Day — inflamed the nation’s debate over guns, turned some Parkland students into political activists and gave rise to some of the biggest youth demonstrations since the Vietnam era.

Many Stoneman Douglas students arrived wearing the burgundy #MSDStrong T-shirts that have become an emblem of the tragedy. Outside, clear plastic figurines of angels were erected for each of the 14 students and three staff members killed.

A moment of silence was observed there and at other schools across Florida and beyond at 10:17 a.m., a time selected to denote the 17 slain.

Reporters were not allowed inside the school, but students packed lunches for poor children in Haiti as part of a number of volunteer projects undertaken to try to make something good come out of the tragedy.

Grief counselors and therapy dogs were made available along with massages and pedicures. An interfaith service was scheduled for later in the day at a nearby park.

Freshman Jayden Jaus, 14, said the moment of silence was “a bit emotional and a little intense” as the principal read the victims’ names over the public address system.

Sophomore Julia Brighton, who suffered nightmares for months after the gunman killed three people in her classroom, placed flowers at the memorial outdoors instead of going inside and “putting myself through that.”

Victims’ families said they would spend the day quietly, visiting their loved ones’ graves or participating in low-key events like a community walk.

Lori Alhadeff posted an open letter to her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, who died in the shooting. Alhadeff remembered how Alyssa didn’t want to go to school because she didn’t have a valentine. But when she dropped her daughter off, she put a pair of diamond earrings in Alyssa’s ears and gave her a chocolate bar to make her smile.

They told each other, “I love you,” and Alhadeff watched Alyssa walk away in a black and white dress and white sneakers: “Your long, dark hair dangled. Your makeup looked just right.”

“The last time I saw you alive,” wrote Alhadeff, who was elected to the Broward County school board after the shooting on a platform pushing campus safety.

Victim Joaquin Oliver’s girlfriend, senior Tori Gonzalez, organized a group of dozen students and alumni to read poems to a large crowd outside the school in the late afternoon. They brought a life-size statue of Oliver, who was 17.

“My mind runs each and every route that could have saved your life,” she read tearfully. “It wasn’t Cupid shooting arrows of love — it was an AR-15.”

Elsewhere around the country, at Broadman High in Youngstown, Ohio, the school rang a chime 17 times and honored local first responders. But in a sign of the times, an active shooter drill was also held.

Senior Jack Pendleton helped plan the day’s anniversary activities. “We turn away from the dread and have to look more toward who’s helping us,” he said.

Students at Maryland’s Bethesda Chevy Chase High School displayed 671 white T-shirts bearing the names of teenagers killed nationally by gun violence last year.

At Fort Lauderdale High, a 30-minute drive from Stoneman Douglas, junior Jake Lynch paused with 20 other students in his law class as the school observed its moment of silence.

“It’s a permanent sore spot,” Lynch said. “Forever, me going forward, I’ll feel this day, and this time and those names. It reminds me of where I want the world to be. … From suffering, better things come out.”

In New Mexico, a student at V. Sue Cleveland High School fired a shot in a hall and ran away, authorities said. He was soon captured. No one was hurt.

The former student accused of opening fire with an AR-15 assault rifle in the Parkland attack, Nikolas Cruz, now 20, is awaiting trial.

___

Find all The Associated Press’ coverage marking one year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at https://apnews.com/ParklandFloridaschoolshooting

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was l...
Hannah Sarisohn

Residential care facility faces fine after woman pronounced dead found gasping for air in body bag

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was later found alive when a funeral director unzipped her body bag, according to documents from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
17 hours ago
Three bodies found on Feb. 2 in the Detroit area are believed to be those of three rappers who have...
Joe Sutton and Emma Tucker

Bodies found in apartment identified as 3 Michigan rappers missing for almost 2 weeks, police say

Three bodies found in the Detroit area this week were identified by authorities Friday as those of three rappers who were missing for almost two weeks, according to Michigan State Police.
17 hours ago
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Vis...
Associated Press

Authorities: 2 arrested in California shooting that killed 6

A California sheriff says two gang members suspected in the massacre of six people last month in central California have been arrested, one after a gunbattle.
17 hours ago
Davion Irvin was arrested late Thursday night and charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-liv...
Chris Boyette and Vivian Kuo

Suspect arrested in case of tamarin monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo, police say

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas and charged in connection with the suspected theft of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys that were recovered unharmed this week in an abandoned home a day after they vanished from the Dallas Zoo, police said.
17 hours ago
A suspected Chinese high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, on February 1. (Larry Maye...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky, Michael Conte and Nectar Gan, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday.
17 hours ago
This booking image provided by the Chicago Police Department, shows Eva Bratcher, who has been accu...
Associated Press

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Parkland Shooting Victims Are Remembered In Silence