Parkland Victims' Families Finally See Massacre Site

Private tours of the high school, which will be demolished, begin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2023 12:39 AM CDT
Victims' Families Tour Untouched Parkland School Shooting Site
Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of geography teacher and cross country coach Scott Beigel, is accompanied by her husband, Beigel's stepfather Michael Schulman, as she speaks to journalists after visiting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, July 5, 2023.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

For more than five years, the bloodstained halls and classrooms where 17 people died in the Parkland school shooting has remained locked away and mostly untouched—not even the victims' families were allowed inside. That changed Wednesday, as heart-wrenching private tours began for relatives of the 14 students and three staff members who died, the AP reports. The 17 wounded and their loved ones will also be able to visit the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, now that it is no longer needed as evidence in the trials of the convicted killer and the deputy who was just acquitted of failing to stop him. The school district plans to demolish the three-story building, likely replacing it with a memorial.

Four families were led through the building Wednesday by prosecutors. Others are scheduled in the coming weeks. There might also be a reenactment of the Valentine's Day shooting for a still-pending civil lawsuit against the deputy. "I needed to see where my son was murdered," said Linda Beigel Schulman, whose 35-year-old son, geography teacher Scott Beigel, died while directing his students to safety. "I needed to see where he tried to close the door that saved 31 of his students. I needed to be where my son was when he took his last breath," she said, beginning to weep as she spoke to reporters across the street from the school. "I tried to say goodbye, but I can tell you, I can't say goodbye. I can't say goodbye. It has been five years and 151 days, it's been 1,961 days and I still can't say goodbye."

There are still bloodstains and broken glass on the floor, along with deflated Valentine's Day balloons, wilted flowers and discarded gifts. Opened textbooks and laptop computers remain on students' desks—at least the ones that weren't toppled during the chaos. In one classroom, an unfinished chess game one of the slain students had been playing still sat, the pieces unmoved. Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was fatally shot on the first floor, said stepping inside the building and walking its halls was one of the hardest things he has ever done, "superseded, of course, by seeing her cold body." "My first born. My only daughter. My beloved," he told reporters.

(Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.