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Grieving Dad Speaks before Daughter's Killer, Making Courtroom Weep: 'My Heart Was Ripped Out of My Chest'

Salwa Nadeem
Aug 26, 2022
05:25 A.M.

A man who lost his young daughter in a school shooting four years ago in Parkland, Florida, erupted at a trial where the deceased's parents took turns describing their feelings. The man's testimony left the courtroom in tears while his daughter's killer listened to every word of his painful speech, displaying no emotions.


The last thing a parent wants is that their child is no more. Many people lose their young children for several reasons, including painful medical conditions, unexpected accidents, and sometimes brutal murders.

They say time heals all wounds, but the pain of losing a child stays with parents until their last breath. It's difficult to forget the person who was once the center of your attention. The man in today's story broke into tears as he talked about his daughter, who was mercilessly killed in a shooting incident four years ago.

Ilan Alhadeff. | Source: Youtube.com/WPLG Local 10

Ilan Alhadeff. | Source: Youtube.com/WPLG Local 10


The Alhadeff family's life changed after they received the devastating news of a mass shooting at their daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff's school. On February 14, 2018, a wave of terror propagated among the residents of Parkland when the headlines talked about a horrifying shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


The then-19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students that day, forever changing the lives of 17 families. In October 2021, Cruz pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder. The recent trial will determine whether the 23-year-old will receive a death sentence.

On August 2, 2022, Alyssa's father, Ilan Alhadeff, erupted in the courtroom as he talked about his late daughter, who would have been in her second year of law school had she been alive.

Ilan Alhadeff talks about his daughter. | Source: Youtube.com/WPLG Local 10

Ilan Alhadeff talks about his daughter. | Source: Youtube.com/WPLG Local 10


Before talking about his daughter, Ilan said he had waited for this day so he could tell the jury how his family had suffered.

He said his daughter was "where she was supposed to be" the day she died. Alyssa was attending her English class when Cruz opened fire inside her high school. Ilan told the courtroom:


"Soon, she'd go on to be a professional soccer player. She'd get her law degree and maybe become one of the most successful business negotiation lawyers the world would see."

"She was supposed to get married," Ilan added before his voice broke. The devastated father talked about dancing with his little girl at her wedding.

He wanted to see her live happily with her four children in a beach house. While looking toward the jury, Ilan said:

"All those plans came to an end with Alyssa's murder."



While Ilan talked about his daughter, Cruz sat in the courtroom, hearing each word the families of the mass shooting victims said. Every parent talked about crushed dreams and ambitions, making the courtroom weep, but Cruz sat there displaying zero emotions. He only stared straight or looked at the table.

Meanwhile, Ilan spoke about how his daughter's untimely death affected his entire family. He said his father, who was "never the same," passed away a year after the tragic incident, and his elderly mother "struggled to find happiness" after losing her granddaughter. Then, he described his father-in-law's feelings, saying:


"Any time you start talking about Alyssa, the guy that typically makes all the jokes gets very upset and asks to change the subject."


Ilan said his mother-in-law got emotional every time she talked about her granddaughter, even four years after her death. She often visited her grave and decorated it to honor her beloved granddaughter.

Not only was Alyssa loved by her family, but her friends also missed her every day. Ilan said his daughter was "the captain of her soccer team and the center of all her friends."


The young girl always supported her friends and gave them advice. She never hesitated to listen to their problems and help them however she could. Ilan added:

"Most of all, she had this infectious laugh that now I only get to watch on TikTok videos."


After witnessing the horrifying school shooting, many of Alyssa's friends needed to seek counseling to live life normally. Ilan said one of them still struggles to "move forward in her life." He said he feels terrible whenever he sees her.


Alyssa's death had also taken a toll on her younger brothers. The youngest was too little to understand what had happened to his sister, while the elder one was more of her best friend. Ilan recalled that his elder son kept calling him to ask about his sister the day she was killed, but he didn't dare to tell him what had happened.

Ilan's elder son stayed up the whole night expecting to get an update about his sister. Only after Ilan returned home did he tell his son Alyssa had died. While talking about the way his sons had suffered, Ilan raised his voice in anger and said:

"This is not normal!"



Even after four years since the tragic incident, Alyssa's mother, Lori Alhadeff, continues to grieve her firstborn's death. She sprays Alyssa's perfume to cherish her memories and tries to keep her name alive by wearing a bracelet with her beloved daughter's name.

Ilan said his wife was busy with the kids before Alyssa's death and still keeps busy, so she doesn't break into tears thinking about her daughter. Towards the end of his heartwrenching speech, Ilan talked about his feelings. He said:

"My firstborn daughter, my childhood star, daddy's girl, was taken from me!"


While his colleagues, friends, and neighbors cheered for their daughters on every milestone they had achieved, Ilan could only watch Alyssa's videos and visit her grave. He felt like his 14-year-old had been murdered only a day ago because the pain never faded during the past four years.

"All I know is a piece of my heart was not just cut out, but it was ripped out of my [expletive] chest [sic]," Ilan continued. He said he tried to keep his family together, but they all miss Alyssa every single day.

Towards the end of his speech, most people in the courtroom were in tears. Every word he said reflected the pain of losing his innocent daughter.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Alhadeff family and the families of the 16 other victims who lost their lives in the terrifying mass shooting.

Click here to read another story about a 9-year-old boy who had become an orphan after his parents and sister died in a campground shooting.

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