"And this is what we are choosing to do with our time now. We are committed to ensuring that Dominic and Gracie’s loss will not be in vain. We want the world to know Dominic. We want the world to remember Gracie. This park is a place where Dominic learned to ride a bike, practiced with his football team, and played tag with his younger brothers. And it is now a place where our family frequently visits to find temporary solace. It has come to mean so much to both of our families."
This wish, this single request that our families humbly asked has been granted through hard work, perseverance, and all of your support.
Central Park will now be formally and forever be known as Central Park– In Memoriam of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell!
On Thursday, November 14th 2019, Dominic Michael Blackwell (14) and Gracie Anne Muehlberger (15) lost their lives during the Saugus High School Shooting. That morning, Central Park was designated as the Incident Command Post, and initial consolidation point for children being evacuated from the school. It also became the place of makeshift memorials for Gracie and Dominic - where 2 beautiful white crosses were placed, and then surrounded by flowers, candles, teddy bears and various momentos - while children and the community came together to mourn and show their respects to the lives of these 2 beautiful and innocent children.
Three days later, per the City of Santa Clarita, well over 15,000 people gathered (and thousands more attended online via various live streams) at Central Park during a vigil that was held to honor the memory of Dominic and Gracie, and the lives of those impacted by this tragedy. Again not only serving as a place of safety and solace, but also a place of unity, community and remembrance - bringing together the entire community for the largest and most historic gathering ever in the history of the Santa Clarita Valley.
These 2 children became the embodiment of what this community represents at its core - unity, happiness, love, joy, respect, faith, and fun. They brought together our community in an unprecedented way - one that will and should always be remembered and remain an integral and permanent part of this great community of Santa Clarita.
Dominic and his family spent most of their lives at Central Park. It's where Dominic learned to ride a bike. Dominic also learned how to play football on field 4 for the first time and went on to have daily practice and scrimmages there for the next 5 years with the Outlaws and Grizzlies. His first time playing soccer with AYSO was when he was just 6 years old, right there at Central Park. Dominic and his family would frequent the park for the playgrounds, special events, concerts, and the dog park. He found a love for food at the Food Truck Festivals and enjoyed the Concerts At The Park. It’s where Dominic learned teamwork, compassion, and made many friends that will go on to remember him as the loving young man he was growing up to be. It’s also where his younger siblings Derek, Dylan, and Devon will be able to remember the precious time they were able to spend with their brother.
They were, and will always be, the living symbols of inclusion, diversity and unity - that should remain at the core of this community, and should forever show the world what it means to be a member of this community.
Gracie and her family visited Central Park often. She first visited Central Park when her family moved to Santa Clarita back in April 2013. It was the very first dog park she had ever been too and Gracie loved watching her dog run and play with other dogs. Gracie’s brother Brady started playing soccer at Central Park in 2013 too, and the park soon became their home away from home. Gracie would play at the playground and meet new friends while Brady practiced soccer. She would always make sure she got their names and would connect with them on Instagram so she could keep in touch. Living up over the hill behind Central Park in River Village, her family would hike over there often, or ride their bikes over to the park. They’ve enjoyed concerts in the park and many other fun events in Central Park. It really has become a part of the Muehlberger family.
It is important to all families and friends of the children that were affected that day to be able to memorialize Gracie and Dominic and further advance the true meaning of what it means to be a part of this great community.