Authorities Demolish Site Of Parkland High School Mass Shootings, Video Shows

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A construction crew began to demolish the three-story southeast Florida school building where an expelled student fatally shot 17 victims six years ago, a Thursday livestream from The Associated Press (AP) showed.

The video showed the hydraulic pincers of a claw excavator beginning by tearing into the top-floor classroom of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building in Parkland, northern Broward County, where Nikolas Cruz, then 19, fatally shot the 14 students and three staff Feb. 14, 2018. Some victims’ families watched the demolition.

Geography teacher, cross-country coach, and counselor Scott Beigel was grading papers in the classroom just before the shooting started. He was guiding students into the classroom’s relative safety when Cruz shot him, the AP reported.

His mother, Linda Beigel Schulman, reportedly was not at the demolition. She, however, had toured the site in 2023 and saw the papers her son was grading when the shooting started. She reportedly was pleased with the demolition.

“It was Scott’s happy place. He loved teaching there. He loved the kids, he loved everything about the school there. He loved coaching,” Schulman told The AP. “And then it is probably the saddest place that could ever be for me. He thrived there and he died there.”

A memorial fund was set up in Beigel’s honor.

Lori Alhadeff — the mother of 14-year-old victim Alyssa — reportedly hammered off a piece of the building before the demolition began, at the school’s invitation. She serves as the Broward County school board chair, having successfully run for membership after the shooting, pledging to improve campus safety.

“Hammering away at the building helped to release some of my pain,” Alhadeff told The AP.

Tony Montalto — who lost his 14-year-old daughter Gina — was also present, according to WBPF 25 News. “I always hear her voice when we drive down this road,” Montalto told the outlet.

Describing mixed reactions to the demolition, Montalto reportedly added, “Some were happy to see it go, some weren’t happy to see it go, some people cried, some didn’t.” (RELATED: ‘I Want To Kill!’ — The 7 Most Shocking Stories About Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Revealed In New Book)

The bullet-pockmarked, bloodstained site of the shooting had been left untouched as evidence during Cruz’s trial, the AP reported. Victims’ relatives — as well as jurors, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others — toured the buildings and saw textbooks and laptops sitting open on desks, wilted Valentine’s flowers, deflated balloons, and abandoned teddy bears scattered amid broken glass, according to the outlet. Visitors reportedly learned that bullet-resistant glass, a better alarm system and doors that lock from within could have saved lives.

Max Schachter, the father of 14-year-old victim Alex, reportedly helped organize the tours. “You have to prioritize school safety because you can’t teach dead children,” he told the AP.

The AP listed other victims as accomplished swimmer Nick Dworet, 17; Mexican immigrant student Martin Duque, 14; assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis, 37; dancer Jaime Guttenberg, 14; athletic director and navy veteran Christopher Hixon, 49; basketball fan Luke Hoyer, 15; gymnast Cara Loughran, 14; writer Joaquin Oliver, 17; Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) member and church volunteer Alaina Petty, 14; fellow JROTC member Peter Wang, 15; aspiring lawyer Meadow Pollack, 18;  England-born Helena Ramsay, 14; and National Merit Scholarship semifinalist Carmen Schentrup, 16.

A Florida court sentenced Cruz to life imprisonment without parole Oct. 13, 2022. Cruz escaped the death penalty sought by prosecutors as the jurors were divided over handing down the penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Cruz’s defense attorney had described Cruz as “a brain damaged, broken, mentally ill person, through no fault of his own” in her closing arguments, the Center reported. Michael J. Satz, the lead prosecutor, however, reportedly described Cruz as a coldhearted notoriety-seeking sociopath who “hunt[ed] his victims” in a planned, “systematic massacre”.