The Starbucks in Parkland, Florida Has Become a Grief Center

‘You can see the pain in their eyes, customers have been telling us their stories all day.’

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

PARKLAND, Florida — After the massacre on Wednesday that killed 17 teachers and students, baristas at Starbucks have handed out consolation with coffee.

Each of the baristas here knows someone affected by the shooting fifteen minutes away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many are their customers.

“Everyone keeps telling us about someone they lost or someone they know that was shot or how they couldn’t reach their kids,” supervisor Karina Orozco said.

“You can see the pain in their eyes, customers have been telling us their stories all day,” barista Vanessa Napoleon said. “There’s been a lot of hugs.”

Local veterinarian Andrew Levy, a regular, told a barista that one of his regular clients—a teacher—had died.

Napoleon said her friend knows a gunshot victim. Josh Clark, who works the evening shift, said his cousin saw her own teacher gunned down. Dishanta Lopez, the store manager, called out from work after her best friend's friend was hurt.

Coworkers said Noah, a barista and student at Stoneman Douglas, saw the shooting first-hand and lost a friend to the gunfire.

Orozco said she knew 14-year-old Martin Duque Anguiano, a freshman who was killed.

“I watched this kid grow up from the time he was in middle school,” she said. “We call him Junior, he was very sweet, very polite and outgoing. A friend to everyone.”

Orozco said that Duque’s mother spent the day trying to locate her son through family friends and parents who gathered at the Marriott Hotel in nearby Coral Springs to pick up their children after they were evacuated from the school.

“[Martin’s mother] went to pick him up at the hotel and they told her they could not find her son,” Orozco said. “So all night, the moms were texting each other, saying, ‘Is everything okay? Is everything alright?’”

It wasn’t.

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“I woke up at four in the morning and the oldest brother texted me. He said, ‘They found my brother, but unfortunately he is one of the dead bodies.’”

On Instagram, Miguel Duque posted a photo of Martin and wrote: “Words cannot describe my pain. I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place. Duques forever. Man I love you junior!!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!”

It was signed with a black heart emoji.

A GoFundMe account started by Miguel has raised more than $18,000 for funeral costs. (A source close to the family said they started the account before they knew the Florida government would pay for grief counseling and funerals.)

At a candlelight vigil Thursday night, Fred Guttenberg told the crowd he had no idea that on this Valentine’s Day would be the last day he saw his 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, alive.

“I sent her to school yesterday, she was supposed to be safe. My job is to protect my children, and I sent my kids to school,” Guttenberg said. “In the mornings, things get so crazy, she runs out from behind and says ‘I gotta go, Dad bye’.”

“I don’t always get to say ‘I love you’ — I don’t remember if I said that to Jamie yesterday morning. She was such a special kid, all of the kids here are, what is unfathomable is that Jamie took a bullet and is dead.”

“I don’t know what I do next,” he said.