Hours after a gunman killed 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., first baseman Anthony Rizzo left Cubs camp in Arizona and headed to the school.
Rizzo, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2007, was at a vigil on Thursday night, and said he was willing to help in whatever way he could.
“I went to Stoneman Douglas. I grew up in Stoneman Douglas,” Rizzo said while choking back tears. “I played on those fields. I went to those classes. I studied in those classrooms — the same school we saw on videos yesterday — for all the wrong reasons.
“We see this on TV too often. I feel like it’s all the time. There’s a cycle to it. We get horrified that this violence is inflicted on our kids. We get angry that there’s nothing we can do and nothing is done about it. And then we ultimately get immune and move on to something else. But then it happens in our own town — in your own school, or the movie theater, or a nightclub, or a church. And we realize that it can happen to us, in our safe and tightknit community, Parkland.”
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The Chicago Tribune reported that Cubs teammates confirmed Rizzo knew some of the victims of Wednesday’s shooting, and he previously had donated $150,000 for lights at the high school baseball field and held an annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
Rizzo said at the vigil that something must change.
“Look, I’m a baseball player, but I’m also an American. I’m a Floridian and I’m a Parklander — for life,” Rizzo said. “While I don’t have all the answers, I know that something has to change before this is visited on another community, and another community, and another community.”
You can see Rizzo’s remarks here in a video from ESPN: