The massacre that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, pushed students, parents, officials and others into the national limelight, something most never sought. A look at where some of the most prominent are today:
EMMA GONZALEZ — Gonzalez, 19, became known for her “We Call B.S.” speech criticizing politicians who accept money from the National Rifle Association, which she gave days after the shooting during a Fort Lauderdale rally.
She, David Hogg and other March for Our Lives founders were featured on the cover of Time magazine. They spent the summer as part of the “Road to Change” tour, which registered young voters around the country.
She is attending Florida’s New College.
DAVID HOGG — Hogg, 18, became the most prominent spokesman for March for Our Lives, a group he and other Stoneman Douglas students founded that is pushing for stronger gun laws. It won the International Children’s Peace Prize. His activism led to significant criticism, including death threats. He and his younger sister, Lauren, wrote a book, “#NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line.”
He will be attending Harvard in the fall.
KYLE KASHUV — The Stoneman Douglas senior has become the most prominent conservative voice among the students, meeting with President Donald Trump, Republican members of Congress and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Kashuv was a member of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team and is high school outreach director for Turning Point USA, a conservative group.
LORI ALHADEFF — Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter Alyssa was killed, won a school board seat representing Parkland in August. She tried hiring a Runcie critic as her secretary, but the superintendent said the woman, a college instructor who holds a doctorate, was unqualified because she didn’t have related experience.
Alhadeff has pushed Runcie to set a timeline for implementing school security projects.
FRED GUTTENBERG — Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed, has become an outspoken advocate for gun control and liberal causes. He drew national attention when he approached new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing and extended his hand, only to have Kavanaugh walk away.
Guttenberg was part of the transition team for new state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide Democratic officeholder.
TONY MONTALTO — Montalto, whose 14-year-old daughter Gina was killed, is president of “Stand with Parkland,” a group of parents and spouses of the victims. The group has pushed for enhanced school security measures, better mental health screening programs and so-called “universal background checks” for gun purchases.
MANUEL OLIVER — Oliver, whose 17-year-old son Joaquin died, is an artist who has created projects honoring his son and condemning gun violence. He recently took on comic Louis CK, who mocked the victims during a December performance.
At his website, changetheref.org, Oliver poses as a standup comedian and in the form of a joke he tells about dropping his son off the day he died. No one laughs.
RYAN PETTY — Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina died, was appointed to the state commission investigating the shooting’s causes. His comments tended to hit at police and school system failures he perceived.
He lost a bid for the Broward County school board but was also part of DeSantis’ transition team.
ANDREW POLLACK — Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow died in the shooting, became the most outspoken critic of school and law enforcement officials among the victims’ parents and a force in Florida conservative politics. He has met with Trump and was on DeSantis’ transition team.
He is pushing for the removal of Broward school Superintendent Robert Runcie and suing suspect Nikolas Cruz, the Broward school district and sheriff’s office and former Broward sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, who was on duty at the school during the shooting but did not enter the building to confront the shooter.
MAX SCHACHTER — Schacter, whose 14-year-old son Alex died, became the emotional voice of the parents as a member of the state commission and founder of the group “Safe Schools for Alex.” He has traveled extensively looking at school security systems.
SCOTT ISRAEL – DeSantis suspended the Broward County sheriff on Jan. 11, saying he “repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership.” Before the shooting, Israel had changed his department’s policy to say deputies “may” confront shooters from “shall.” Critics say that gave eight deputies an excuse for not confronting the gunman when they arrived during the shooting but stayed outside. Israel’s attorneys say he intends to challenge the suspension.
He intends to run again next year.
SCOT PETERSON — Peterson, a longtime Broward sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school, retired shortly after the shooting. Security video showed he drew his gun but did not enter the three-story freshman building where the killings took place. Instead, he took cover nearby and stayed there for about 50 minutes. In interviews with the “Today” show and The Washington Post, he said he did not know where the shots were coming from. He was subpoenaed to testify before the state investigative commission but invoked his Fifth Amendment right to silence after it was announced he was under criminal investigation. The commission concluded that he lied about not knowing the location of the shooter, and several members called him a coward.
He is collecting a pension of more than $100,000 annually.
ROBERT RUNCIE — The Broward County school superintendent remains in office over the objection of the victims’ families, as he has the backing of a majority of the nine-member school board. DeSantis has hinted he would like to suspend Runcie, but state law won’t allow it as Runcie is an appointed official, not elected.
Suspect and Family
NIKOLAS CRUZ — Cruz, 20, remains jailed in Broward County, charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. His attorneys have said the former Stoneman Douglas student would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. No trial date has been set.
In November, he was charged with attacking a jail guard who investigators say told him not to drag his sandals while walking. The guard fended off the attack, investigators said.
ZACHARY CRUZ — The suspect’s 18-year-old brother pleaded no contest in March to trespassing at the school 33 days after the shooting. He was re-arrested weeks later for violating probation for driving without a license and for driving near a school but was quickly released.
He has moved to Virginia and has shown up at some of his brother’s court hearings.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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