Watch CBS News

Parkland families continued visiting building where shooting took place

Parkland families continue to visit building where shooting took place
Parkland families continue to visit building where shooting took place 03:05

PARKLAND - For a second day, families of the victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre voluntarily visited the crime scene Thursday.

The Broward state attorney is offering families who choose to view the 1200 building an opportunity to retrace the path of the mass shooter who killed 17 students and staff and wounded 17 more in 2018.

Families are allowed to take personal items of the victims, as well as, spend time to reflect. 

The building has been sealed off since the massacre and only a handful of people have been given access pending the completion of the criminal cases. 

Among those visiting Thursday were the family of slain student Martin Duque, Debbie Hixon, whose husband athletic director Chris Hixon was murdered while trying to confront the shooter, and Max Schacter, whose son Alex died at his desk in a classroom on the first floor. 

"It was like a war zone. It was horrible," said Schacter, who spoke to reporters while clutching his son's English textbook. Schacter says he plans to have the desk Alex was sitting in transported to his home. 

"Alex heard the gunshots and got up to escape but he didn't have time," Schacter said his son's birthday is next week. He would have turned 20.

Schacter has devoted his life to making schools safer. He just returned from a national school resource officer symposium. "There needs to be more SRO training," he says. 

The criminal cases were resolved, with SRO Scot Peterson cleared of criminal child neglect for not entering the building and the shooter sentenced to life in prison. The focus is now on pending civil cases. 

Families settled with the Broward School District, which paid millions to those who lost loved ones and students who suffered physically and mentally from the carnage. 

In a federal lawsuit, the Department of Justice settled lawsuits brought by the families against the FBI for failing to follow up on warnings about the gunman.  

But there are other pending wrongful death civil lawsuits against the Broward Sheriff's Office, Scot Peterson and school monitor Andrew Medina, who saw the shooter arrive, knew he posed a danger but is accused of not doing enough to prevent him from entering the 1200 building. 

Civil attorney David Brill has filed a motion to have a reenactment of the shooting using blanks he says, "The purpose is to parallel the killer's movements and the gunfire in relation to Scot Peterson's movements and actions," says Brill.

"It's about accountability," says Max Schacter. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.