SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - Parents of the two students killed in the Saugus High School shooting last November are asking the city council to amend the name of a local park in the children's honor.
The Muehlbergers and Blackwells are asking Santa Clarita City Council to change the community’s “Central Park” to “Central Park, in memoriam of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell.”
The park, about a half of a mile from Saugus High, is the location where parents reunited with their kids during the tragedy and found some peace. It’s also the place where Dominic, 14, used to play football and soccer and Gracie, 15, used to ride bikes and go to concerts. It's also the location where 15,000 mourners met to honor the two kids just a few days after one of their schoolmates opened fired, killing them on November 14, 1019.
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“The unity we saw in this community was unprecedented and unexplainable,” said Gracie’s dad, Bryan Muehlberger. “We really feel like this tragedy, these two children’s lives and what they embodied really brought together the community unlike anything ever in the history of this community.”
Gracie’s parents say the world was her center stage. She had an infectious laugh and was so full of life.
“I just remember how beautiful she was,” said Gracie’s mom, Cindy Muehlberger. “Her beautiful eyes, her beautiful laugh, it’s hard.”
Dominic was known for his smile and kind soul, helping his family but also complete strangers.
“It just shows what an amazing young man he was growing up to be, just a leader, a friend, a brother and a caring, compassionate person,” said Frank Blackwell, Dominic’s dad.
“He was my little buddy,” added his mom, Nancy Blackwell. “We had these inside jokes and he would give me fashion tips if he thought I shouldn’t be wearing something because I looked young. We were just extremely close.”
Now their parents hope the park can still be a part of their kids by adding their names to the place where they and the community search for peace.
“Not a day or moment goes by where the thought’s not there, impacting your life, or something that reminds you of it,” said Bryan.
Dominic and Gracie’s parents are asking Santa Clarita City Council to vote on the addition to the park’s name at their meeting next month.
If you would like to show your support, you can sign a petition at RenameCentralPark.com.
Their parents have also set up foundations in honor of their kids, GracieStrong.org and DMBfoundation.org – to help children speak up and ask for help before they hurt themselves or other children.