Deputies allow tour of crime scene where MSD students saw Valentine’s Day turn into terror

Local 10 News visits Parkland school’s 1200 building BSO preserved as court exhibit since 2018

Roses that had been brought to honor love on that Valentine’s Day in 2018 lay withered, their dried and cracked petals scattered across classroom floors still smeared with the blood of victims gunned down by a former student more than four years earlier.

PARKLAND, Fla. – “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

That was the James Dean quote on display on the second-floor hallway, between classrooms 1221 and 1229, in the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies preserved the crime scene of the massacre on Feb. 14, 2018, so that jurors and a small group of reporters could observe it on Thursday.

Nikolas Cruz waived his right to visit the building where he used an AR-15 rifle to turn Valentine’s Day into terror that has reverberated for years.

Except for the bodies, deputies left it all as it was then, so the jurors who are tasked with deciding Cruz’s fate could “observe and explore” in silence. A group of reporters followed after they left.

Not one classroom had as many students murdered and wounded as classroom 1216. It was where Dara Hass taught English. A blue folder marked with slain 14-year-old student Alaina Petty’s name was on a bullet-riddled desk.

There was a large blood stain between Hass’s desk and a wall full of bullet holes. Near where Alyssa Alhadeff died, there was a handwritten essay about Malala Yousafzai, “the girl who wanted to go to school.”

The student author wrote about the Pakistani activist for girls’ education: “A bullet went straight to her head but not her brain” and “In conclusion, we the people should have freedom for education.”

Watch the 6 p.m. report

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies preserved the crime scene of the massacre on Feb. 14, 2018, so that jurors and a small group of reporters could observe it on Thursday.

In classroom 1214, blood splattered on two books — “Tell Them We Remember” by Susan Bachrach and “Listen to the Wind” by Greg Mortenson.

Someone wrote “#TogetherWeRemember” and iWitness accounts on the room’s whiteboard. It was likely Ivy Schamis, who was teaching Holocaust Studies when Cruz shot and killed 17-year-old seniors Nicholas Dworet and Helena Ramsay.

A 2017-2018 school year planner was on the floor. There were two yellowed The Sun Sentinel newspapers on the table. There was a water bottle on a desk. There were laptops still open and headphones. There were bullet markings.

Watch the 5 p.m. report

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies preserved the crime scene where Cruz shot 34 people — killing 17 and injuring 17 others — so well it looked like time had stopped since the tragedy.

In the teacher’s lounge, a window pane with a view of the school’s 1300 building has four bullet holes. Another window pane overlooking the courtyard and the parking lot also had a bullet hole. These overlook the courtyard and a parking lot where students were fleeing.

There was a poster with a message for teachers: “Typical or Troubled? NOTICE: Notice if you are seeing troubling signs in a student. TALK: Talk with the student. ACT: Share observations with school mental health staff. Changing a life’s course.” It also had phone numbers for social work and counseling

On the third floor, there were cracked rose petals mixed with shards of glass where students ran for their lives as Cruz fired his rifle. The blood of the victims smeared the hallway floor.

Watch the 4 p.m. report

Roses that had been brought to honor love on that Valentine’s Day in 2018 lay withered, their dried and cracked petals scattered across classroom floors still smeared with the blood of victims gunned down by a former student more than four years earlier. (AP)

Cruz shot and killed 18-year-old Meadow Pollack, 14-year-old Cara Loughran, and 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver there.

Dark splotches of blood and yellow-greenish material stained the corner in front of the stairwell where 15-year-old Peter Wang died.

Pin-sized holes on the wall have circles drawn around them. These are marked “fragment D” and “fragment F.”

In classroom 1255, there was a “No Bully Zone” sign on the wall. Teacher Stacey Lippel wrote, “How to write the perfect love letter” on the whiteboard.

Cross-country coach Scott Beigel died in front of the third-floor classroom where he taught geography. There were assignments about the tenets of Islam and Christianity never to be graded.

Beigel wrote the unfinished of the Winter Olympics medal winners on the whiteboard.

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Local 10 News Digital Journalist Andrea Torres contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."