Demo begins Parkland high school building, 6 years after massacre

Demo begins Parkland high school building, 6 years after massacre

The three-story classroom building where a former student shot and killed 17 people during a mass shooting on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus is being razed.

The long-awaited demolition kicked off in Parkland, Fla. on Friday, more than six years after the school shooting occurred.

A group of people, among them some of the victims’ family members and loved ones, gathered in the nearby parking lot, snapping photos and recording video as an excavator sprang to life and ripped into the structure.

Crews start the demolition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building, Friday, June 14, 2024, where 17 people died in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. Officials plan to complete the weekslong project before the school's 3,300 students return in August from summer vacation. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Crews start the demolition of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building, Friday, June 14, 2024, where 17 people died in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. Officials plan to complete the weekslong project before the school’s 3,300 students return in August from summer vacation. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The building has remained mostly untouched since gunman Nikolas Cruz burst through the door on Valentine’s Day 2018 with an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle, and carried out the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in United States history. He unleashed more than 140 rounds inside the school where he was once a student, killing 14 students and three teachers. Another 17 people were wounded in the attack.

In November 2022, Cruz was ordered to spend life in prison after jurors declined to sentence him to death.

During his trial, the panel retraced Cruz’s rampage through the school, bearing witness to the bullet-riddled walls and blood-splattered floors as they stepped over cards and stuffed animals doled out in celebration of the romantic holiday.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina died that day, said in a statement that the demolition is “a necessary part of moving forward.” He has advocated for school safety programs and a memorial site.

“While we can never erase the pain and the memories, we can create a space that honors their legacy and fosters hope for a safer future,” he said. “That’s why we fight every day to pass meaningful legislation that keeps our family members safe in their school.”

The Broward County school board has not decided what will replace the building. Officials said they expect the weeks-long demolition efforts to wrap before the school’s 3,300 students — most of whom were in elementary school at the time of the massacre — return in August from summer vacation.

With News Wire Services


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