PARKLAND, Fla. - Monday marks 4 years since 17 people were killed and another 17 wounded when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day 2018.
Florida government buildings, parks and other facilities will fly their flags at half-staff on Monday in honor of the 14 students and three staff members killed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said in his proclamation that the observance of the shooting’s fourth anniversary "will continue to honor the memory of the innocent Floridians lost on that tragic day" at the Parkland school.
People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Flowers, candles and mementos sit outside one of the makeshift memorials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 27, 2018. (RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images)
"We continue to convey our deepest sympathies to the families, loved ones and Parkland community for their loss," he said. He asked that all Floridians pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. Monday.
Those killed in the attack were students Alyssa Alhadeff, Martin Duque, Nicholas Dworet, Jaime Guttenberg, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang.
Also murdered were teacher Scott Beigel, athletic director Chris Hixon and assistant football coach and security guard Aaron Feis.
In this file photo, Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz speaks with Public Defender Melisa McNeill before a pre-trial hearing at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, on four criminal counts stemming from his all
The killer, Nikolas Cruz, pleaded guilty in October to their murders. The penalty trial that will decide whether he receives the death penalty or life in prison is scheduled to begin in April.
The massacre 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.
Since the 2018 massacre:
- The sheriff at the time, Scott Israel, was removed by the governor because of the agency’s performance that day.
- The school security officer on duty the day of the shootings, former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson, faces 11 criminal charges, including child neglect and negligence, for not entering the school building to confront Cruz. He has pleaded not guilty and also awaits trial.
- A commission set up to study the tragedy recommended that teachers be trained and armed in schools, and the state Legislature in 2019 passed a law to that effect.
- Multiple lawsuits have been filed over the shootings and will probably take years to resolve. The coronavirus outbreak has hindered those cases as well, though a judge recently ruled the school system had no duty to warn of the danger posed by Cruz, by then a former student.
President Joe Biden says his administration stands with the advocates working to end gun violence and urges the nation to uphold the "solemn obligation" to "keep each other safe."
"Out of the heartbreak of Parkland a new generation of Americans all across the country marched for our lives and towards a better, safer America for us all," Biden said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press ahead of Monday's anniversary.
"Together, this extraordinary movement is making sure that the voices of victims and survivors and responsible gun owners are louder than the voices of gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association," Biden said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.