SEATTLE — The family of Carmen Schentrup is still fighting for change, one year after a gunman killed her and 16 others during the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The Schentrups settled on the Eastside, mostly because Philip Schentrup wanted to live closer to his tech job, but also because they wanted to get away from what they call the “failures” of Broward County.
April Schentrup told KIRO 7 her middle child was “the daughter you wanted, dreamed of. Carmen was “lovable, just brilliant. She was one of those kids that once she put something in her mind, she worked at it,” her mother remembered.
At the time Carmen was killed, Philip said his daughter “was coming into her own. She was hitting her stride.”
Although Carmen was only 16 years old, the accelerated student was a senior at Stoneman Douglas when a 19-year-old former student walked onto campus Feb. 14, 2018 and opened fire.
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Her parents told KIRO 7 that the murders were completely avoidable because the shooter made his deadly plans widely known in the days and months leading up to the massacre.
"He told a lot of people” about his plans, Philip Schentrup said. “He was screaming it from the top of his lungs. He was posting it on social media. People were calling the FBI, giving them tips and the FBI did nothing about it. The school did nothing about it.”
Because of their frustration, the Schentrups and the other victims' families started "Stand With Parkland" in the hopes of preventing future campus shootings.
"Stand With Parkland" advocates for improving school safety, identifying and helping those with mental health concerns, and encouraging responsible firearm ownership -- including nationwide extreme risk protection orders that allow law enforcement officers to seize the weapons of people who pose a risk.
The gunman who admitted to killing Carmen Schentrup should never have been allowed to own a weapon, according to the Schentrups.
“The Sheriff’s Office had been out to this kid’s home for than 40 times and never did anything about it,” Philip said.
“You have repeated run-ins with law enforcement that never resulted in an arrest, so he passed a background check.”
"Stand With Parkland's" efforts have already led to changes in Florida, but not enough for the Schentrups to stay.
“For me personally, there were just a lot of failures in Broward County,” April said. “It shouldn’t be put on the parents of the victims to make the change, or urge the change. It felt like it always was a battle.”
In addition to their nationwide school safety efforts, the Schentrups also donated Carmen's life savings to the ALS Association, because their daughter dreamed of a career in medical research that might have started at the University of Washington.
Carmen had applied to the UW and toured campus in January, 2018 -- weeks before losing her life.
“She loved Seattle, she loved the campus,” her father said. “She got accepted at the UW and the University of Florida.”
Philip said his daughter “would have had a decision to make” but he never knew where Carmen would eventually attend school because the UW acceptance letter “didn’t come until after she was murdered.”