On a day when 19 children and two teachers were murdered at a school in Uvalde, Texas, family members who experienced a similar tragedy just over four years ago in Parkland spoke out.
Max Schachter's son Alex was among the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 when the now-convicted gunman opened fire, injuring 17 others as well.
"The worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my life is losing my little boy," Schachter said. "Sending your kid to school and having them never come home again? It doesn’t compare to anything."
UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING
Patricia Oliver lost her 17-year-old son Joaquin in the Parkland shooting.
"I feel very mad, I feel very frustrated, I cannot understand why we are going through this situation by the hour," Oliver said. "This is something that is impossible to understand."
Tony Montalto lost his 14-year-old Gina, and knows how heart-wrenching Tuesday was for those parents in Texas.
"We know all too well the devastation that many of these families are feeling there this evening, as they learn of the loss or the murder of their child or loved ones," he said.
Christine Hunchofsky, who was the mayor of Parkland at the time of the shooting, is now a state legislator in Tallahassee.
"My heart breaks for these families because I know what they’re going to be going through in the next days, weeks and months, and what the whole community is going to be going through, and the time it’s going to take to really feel safe again," she said.
As these South Florida families grieve with those hundreds of miles away in Texas, they also opened up about the death penalty trial of the Parkland shooter, which has been repeatedly delayed.
Tuesday's mass shooting raised new concerns about more setbacks.
"It’s frustrating that it’s been over four years and we still don’t have any justice, but I hope the jury does what they should do and put this murderer to death just like he sentenced our children to die," Schachter said.
Thomas Hoyer, who lost his 15-year-old son Luke at MSD, spoke Wednesday outside the courtroom where jurors were being selected for the killer's sentencing trial.
“Those families are starting this terrible journey and we might be getting closer to the end of ours,” Hoyer said. “I hope their journey through all this is a lot faster than ours.”
Hoyer said it was "surreal" to see what unfolded Tuesday in Texas.
“I’m in physical pain for what they’re going through right now,” he said, his voice shaking.
Together the bills would create a clearinghouse of best practices for how districts should respond to school shootings and better equip districts with the resources needed to spot red flags and prevent tragedies.
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