Abigail Pesta '91 | May 1, 2019
Denise Foote was out shopping for Valentine’s Day treats for her kids when the killing began.
She wanted to make a big white-chocolate-chip cookie — her kids’ favorite — in the shape of a heart. She picked out the ingredients at the Walmart in Parkland, Florida, and nabbed some candies, too, planning to put them in little tins that her husband, Todd, had bought for the occasion. She pictured a festive evening ahead.
At that moment, a gunman walked through an unlocked gate in the chain-link fence around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The couple’s son Austin, a freshman at the school, was sitting at his desk in biology class.
2:19 p.m. School was almost out.
A campus monitor spotted the gunman heading for a three-story classroom building, Building 12, carrying a rifle bag. The monitor recognized the youth as a former student — a troubled kid he had once discussed as a potential school shooter at a staff meeting — but he did not call a code red, which would have put the school on lockdown. Instead, he radioed another campus monitor, who also recognized the gunman, and saw him enter the building. Still no code red. The failure to call for a lockdown was one of many security lapses that day, according to the January 2019 report of the state public safety commission that investigated the attack.
2:21 p.m. The first shots.
Firing his AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle into the hallway, the gunman killed students Martin Duque, Luke Hoyer and Gina Montalto. The gunfire triggered a fire alarm due to dust falling from the ceiling. He shot into classrooms, killing students Alyssa Alhadeff, Alaina Petty, Alex Schachter, Nicholas Dworet and Helena Ramsay. Someone called 911. The call got routed from one call center to another, slowing the response. Kids in a third-floor classroom of Building 12 heard gunshots and fled for the stairs, while students on the second floor ran into classrooms. Other kids on the third floor evacuated as they would for a fire drill, confused by the alarm.
Read more here.