Reporters from Houston area news agencies traveled to Florida this week to cover a long-anticipated event for many area baseball fans — Astros spring training.
However, what started out as fun and games quickly turned to tragedy as they learned of a horrific event unfolding nearby.
“We need you to leave Astros spring training and get on the road for a school shooting,” Greg Bailey, an Eyewitness News sports reporter, says his station told him via a phone call.
Bailey is among a number of Houston sports reporters that are currently in West Palm Beach, Florida, to cover the Astros’ 2018 spring training.
As news broke of a shooting in Parkland, Florida, Houston news agencies realized they had reporters onsite just one hour away.
Bailey described a scene of mayhem when he and photojournalist Francisco Barragan arrived at Douglas High School.
One father who raced to find his child didn’t even have any shoes on.
Bailey wasn’t the only Houston reporter on the scene.
KHOU sent their sports reporter Matt Musil to Parkland to report on the story.
Musil captured footage of a vigil held to remember the fallen students and faculty.
Musil also conducted a controversial interview with a young woman who claimed to be a student at the high school. She also said she knew the student accused of the crime.
In the interview, the young woman makes comments suggesting that their was a second shooter — a story that was picked up by national media.
However, those allegations have not been substantiated by officials.
The controversial statements have drawn criticism from some Houston viewers, but other news fans were quick to defend the reporter:
KPRC2 also sent reporters to Parkland to cover the story, including a photojournalist who captured footage of the memorial service.
Local reporters remain in Florida to continue coverage of the Houston Astros’ spring training camp.