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First Funerals Held For Students Killed In Parkland Shooting

Mourners leave Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland after services for Meadow Pollack, who was killed Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Kate Stein
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The first funerals for students killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were held on Friday.

At Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland, mourners remembered 18-year-old Meadow Pollack.

Hundreds of vehicles and white-and-green Broward Sheriff squad cars lined the sunny road outside the synagogue where family, friends and teachers gathered to remember Meadow.

Many of the black-clad mourners wore burgundy ribbons – one of the school’s colors – on their lapels. A photo on a prayer card showed a smiling girl with pink-painted nails in a burgundy graduation gown. She was supposed to graduate later this year. 

During the service, a father's grief and anger boiled over.

Andrew Pollack looked down from the altar at the coffin of his 18-year-old daughter Meadow and yelled: "You killed my kid!" The father was referring to Nikolas Cruz, the former student who recently confessedof gunning down Pollack and 16 others Wednesday at the school.

Pollack told some 1,000 mourners present that he was very angry and upset. He added: "My kid is dead ... This is just unimaginable that I will never see my princess again."

Meadow's funeral came shortly after a service for 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.

Douglas Hinsey accompanied his daughter Brooke to that service. She attends another high school, but played soccer with Alyssa.

Hinsey said Alyssa's absence will be felt.

“Alyssa’s an excellent role model. She taught Brooke a lot of things. And it’s a shame,” he said.

Hinsey said attending Alyssa's funeral brought him and his daughter closure.

“For the last 48 hours, it’s been very difficult to just fathom that you lose somebody like that in this world, especially when they’re younger than you,” he said. “And then once you get past the hurdle of what everybody is experiencing in there today, it sort of puts closure.”

The funeral procession for Meadow left the Congregation Kol Tikvah around 2 p.m. Shortly after, faculty and staff from Marjory Stoneman Douglas had a meeting just across the parking lot at Parkland City Hall.

Some came from grief counseling at the city library. Officials said they offered the spaces because the high school remains closed. Lawmakers have said they will provide resources to tear down the building where the shooting took place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.
Nadege Greencovers social justice issues for WLRN.