Man accused of stealing from Parkland memorial told deputies he was 'pro-gun'

Incident report describes arrested pair as drunk, combative

PARKLAND, Fla. – A man accused of stealing from the memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School told deputies that he removed a banner because he was "pro-gun," while the woman who he was arrested with said she took the items to make her "own memorial," according to an incident report released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

Michael Kennedy, 37, of Hollywood, and Kara O'Neil, 40, of Fulton, New York, each face a charge of removing or disfiguring a tomb or a monument, which is a felony.

Among the items stolen was a basketball trophy, report said. Three of the victims -- Luke Hoyer, Joaquin Oliver and Alex Schachter -- were members of Stoneman Douglas' basketball team.

Consisting of crosses, flowers, pictures and hundreds of other items, the memorial was erected shortly after 17 people were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded at the Parkland school on Feb. 14.

Many of the survivors of the Parkland shooting have become outspoken advocates of gun control, and some of the posters and banners at the memorial reference their cause.

According to the report, two witnesses alerted authorities after they saw Kennedy and O'Neil removing items from the memorial and ripping posters from crosses dedicated to each of the shooting victims.

At first, Kennedy told deputies that he was bringing items to the memorial, not removing them, the report said. Later he told deputies, "I took that banner down because I am pro-gun," the report said.

According to the report, O'Neil was interviewed separately and told deputies, "Oh we were going to make a memorial of our own at the high school."

The deputies who interviewed Kennedy and O'Neil said their speech was slurred and they smelled of alcohol, the report said.

The incident report also cataloged the stolen items found in Kennedy and O'Neil's car. They are: 

  • One metal trophy that read "1st Place Parkland Basketball 2017"
  • One shadow box containing pictures of the shooting victims
  • One large canvas banner with a gun-control message written on it
  • One stone with the inscription, "Never Again"
  • One standard-size U.S. flag
  • Two plaques reading "The Mighty Seventeen" and "MSD Parkland Strong"
  • Three teddy bears
  • 17 metal angel pennants
  • 25 pinwheel lawn ornaments, some displaying the names of the victims