On Friday, court officials and ballistics specialists convened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to reenact the country’s bloodiest high school massacre.
The three-story building where a shooter ki!!ed 17 people and injured 17 others in 2018 has remained unchanged since the incident. It was buzzing with activity Friday, behind a 15-foot chain-link fence, not long before officials say they want to demolish it for good.
Outside the structure, technicians set up cameras to record the sound of live gunfire ricocheting through its halls for the second time.
The recreation is part of a legal complaint filed against former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, who waited outside for more than six minutes while a gunman fired at children and teachers trapped inside locked classrooms and hallway alcoves on Feb. 14, 2018.
Peterson approached the building’s door, drew his gun, and backed away.
In June, a jury cleared Peterson of all felony charges stemming from his inability to engage the gunman. Attorneys for the families of Stoneman Douglas victims and survivors believe the simulation on Friday will show Peterson knew where the sh00ting was coming from but chose to stay outdoors regardless.
According to Mark Eiglarsh, the defense attorney who represented Peterson during his criminal trial, the reenactment was upsetting and needless.
He cited the evidence from law enforcement officers, students, and staff members who claimed that the reverberation and echo of the shooting made it challenging to determine the source of the sound.
According to Eiglarsh, some people thought the rounds were coming from the football field hundreds of yards away from the gunman. He described the reenactment on Friday as an attempt to fabricate evidence “that cannot possibly be re-created with any degree of accuracy.”
“It’s insulting to those jurors, insulting to the criminal justice system, and unnecessarily traumatic to all the neighbors in that area,” he said.
Hours before the reenactment began on Friday, a bipartisan group of Congress members and victims’ families inspected the yellow-and-gray structure. They formed a single-file line as if they were students on their way to class before Broward County sheriff’s officials unlocked the door.
According to US Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla, scenes from “a war zone” awaited them.
“You could read about it all day.” “You can debate it all day,” he told reporters afterwards. “But it’s not the same as going and walking through the school.”
Last year, reporters who saw the facility during the gunman’s sentencing hearing described it as “walking through a graveyard.” The walls and flooring are still bloodstained. Items from students, including Valentine’s Day gifts, remained untouched on each of the building’s three floors.
The tour, prompted by the father of shooting victim Alex Schachter’s call to action, finished at about 9:45 a.m. Following the meeting, lawmakers reconvened at the Marriott Coral Springs Hotel, where parents waited to learn whether their children had survived the massacre.
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Moskowitz, a Parkland native and Stoneman Douglas alumnus, convened a closed-door meeting with lawmakers to discuss how to prevent future violence.
“We need to continue to work together to get it done,” said Miami Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. “What are we doing if we can’t work together on this?”
He struggled to convey what he had witnessed in the freshman building’s halls, calling it “one of the most horrific acts of evil” a human could ever commit.
Since the day of the shooting, the structure has been preserved as an active crime scene. State lawmakers agreed to fund to demolish the building two days after the massacre, but they have had to wait for the criminal cases against the gunman and Peterson to conclude. The Broward County School District has stated that the demolition will not be completed before the start of the school year on August 21.
On Friday, Joaquin Oliver shot to deαth on the third floor, would have turned 23.
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Tyler is a passionate journalist with a keen eye for detail and a deep love for uncovering the truth. With years of experience covering a wide range of topics, Tyler has a proven track record of delivering insightful and thought-provoking articles to readers everywhere. Whether it’s breaking news, in-depth investigations, or behind-the-scenes looks at the world of politics and entertainment, Tyler has a unique ability to bring a story to life and make it relevant to audiences everywhere. When he’s not writing, you can find Tyler exploring new cultures, trying new foods, and soaking up the beauty of the world around him.