Today is a somber day for me as a dear and beloved friend was layed to rest in Miami. It was with great sorrow that I learned of the passing of my friend Doug Carroll who was tragically shot to death July 19th. Doug was my best friend in high school and the best man in my first wedding. He was honestly one of the nicest guys I've known, always smiling and loving life.
I met Doug in the 11th grade at Miami Norland Senior High School through our mutual participation in the Key Club. We became very good friends quickly and with some other Key members became a group of goofy kids known as the "Pendejos", spending many a late Friday night hanging out at Wag's after a movie or other activities. Doug was in the band while I played soccer, but aside from that we were similar in so many ways; we pretty much did every thing together. To that end, at some point we both ended up working at the local Pizza Hut and even transferred to another location when our favorite assistant manager was promoted there. We were, without a doubt, best of friends.
After high school we both attended Miami-Dade Community College (now just Miami Dade College) while continuing to work together, this time at Office Depot. Doug was pursuing a education and career in music; the man could play the hell out of his alto saxophone. We remained very close for the next five or six years. In 1993 I joined the Air Force and after basic training I was shipped off to Monterey, California for 15 months; San Angelo, Texas for 6 months; and finally ending up just outside of Baltimore, Maryland, where I am to this day. We remained in touch those first couple of yeas after I enlisted and in fact when I returned to Miami in July 1993 to get married, Doug was my best man.
Sadly after the wedding I had to return to California immediately and after that the business of life and distance led to Doug and I to fall out of touch. A few years ago when I got on FaceBook, Doug was one of the first people I sought out. We reconnected and exchanged several chats, catching up on each others' lives. I learned that Doug has gone on to graduate from the University of Florida and was teaching high school band. I also learned that he had a son and was in the process of trying to get a custody arrangement. We talked about getting together, but unfortunately life, and time, conspired against us and it never came to be.
One of the news articles I read about Doug's death had a quote from a police officer on the scene who indicated that they "believed" this was a drug related shooting. I hope that the investigation will disprove this statement because I am 100% certain that there is no way possible Doug was at that house for any drug related purpose. I never knew Doug to use drugs and in fact, due to some of his life's circumstances, he detested drugs and those involved with them. To point, Doug and his family lived in an apartment complex (which incidentally now appears to have been bulldozed and replaced with a community park/center according to Google Maps) that was a drug haven. Whenever I would drive Doug home my car would be approached several times by people attempting to sell us drugs as we drove through the complex; it honestly scared the hell out of me and Doug knew that. He would always offer to let me drop him off at the corner, but there was no way I was letting my friend do that.
Doug was truly was one of the good guys and undeserving of such a brutal and tragic end to his life. I regret never having been able to get together with him in person after we reconnected; I know we would have had a great time catching up and telling the stories of our lives. I will miss him immensely, but I won't be alone. Doug touched so many lives through his humor and love of music. The number of former students of his who have posted on his Facebook page since his death is truly astonishing. I hope that the legacy of his love of music and teaching will live on through them and be passed along for generations to come.
Rest in peace my friend. I will love you always.
Douglas Steven Carroll: September 21, 1970 - July 19, 2012