MIAMI — Just a little more than four years ago, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and players visited the Parkland, Florida community after 17 students were killed in school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
On Wednesday, Spoelstra opened his Game 5 pregame press conference by addressing Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed.
“Obviously, it was just tragic news yesterday. I left shootaround the other day, and it was before Game 1, I went straight to school to pick up my boys. My wife used to be a junior high teacher. We’re just devastated by the news.
“I can’t even imagine what that community and the families are feeling in that kind of scenario, going to school and seeing all the police cars and everything.
“I think there’s certainly, after continued events, there’s a call to action. I think everybody is trying to figure out a way to be heard, to force some kind of change from the people that can make change. I just really feel for all the families.”
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Before the national anthem for Wednesday niGame 5, the Heat observed a moment of silence those killed in Tuesday’s school shooting and posted this message on the video board: “Support common sense gun law by calling 202-224-3121. Learn how to register to vote at heat.com/vote.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr also gave another impassioned plea to stop gun violence. Kerr lost his father to gun violence. Malcolm H. Kerr was shot and killed in 1984 by two extremists at the American University of Beirut, where he served as the university president.
Tuesday’s shooting brought back more anguish. The rest of that 2017-2018 season, the Heat wore “MSD” patches on the jerseys and created a scholarship in the names of students who were Heat fans. Jury selection in the penalty phase is underway for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, who is facing the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
“My wife and I had kind of a tough afternoon reflecting on it last night for those very reasons, and it does feel like just yesterday that we were going up there and spending time in that community, and just the shock that it was happening, so real in our neighborhood really, in our community,” Spoelstra said. “But it just continues to happen.”