On Friday, gunfire exploded again at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as part of reenacting the 2018 tragedy that ki!!ed 14 students and three staff members.
The reenactment occurred after a legislative delegation party led by Democratic Congressman Jared Moskowitz and Republican Congressman Mario Diaz Balart viewed the structure.
The recreation is part of a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families and the injured against the Broward County officer assigned to the school for failing to protect the pupils.
The test was conducted by ballistics experts for the families, who fired up to 139 shots inside the three-story classroom building as part of the lawsuit against the families’ primary targets: the school’s then-assigned deputy, Scot Peterson, and his employer, the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Parents of the children slain in the mass sh00ting stressed the need for the reenactment to comprehend what happened during the mass sh00ting in 2018 truly.
Few people have entered the three-story building since the Valentine’s Day sh00ting in 2018. The structure looms above campus, sealed behind a chain-link fence and used as evidence in the shooter’s penalty trial last year.
Broken glass, faded roses, deflated balloons, and discarded gifts litter the floor. Opened textbooks and laptop computers, at least those that didn’t fall over during the turmoil, remain on students’ desks.
One of the dead pupils had left an unfinished chess game in one of the classrooms. The Associated Press was one of five media outlets permitted to tour the facility following the conclusion of shooter Nikolas Cruz’s jury trial.
The sh00ting spurred a national gun control campaign and shocked the South Florida community. Cruz, a former Stoneman Douglas student, pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in 2021.
Soon after the legislators left, workmen carried tables and ladders inside. Two helicopters circled above. Workers positioned cameras outside and measured various distances between a mannequin head on top of a tripod and a door.
The weapons used in the simulation were the same as those used by the gunman. It was initially stated that blanks would be used. The judge noted that live ammunition would be used with a bullet safety device. Former FBI agent and ballistics expert for the families, Bruce Koenig, testified that live shots sound different than blanks.
Peterson, who worked for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and is listed in the case, claims he didn’t hear all the bullets and couldn’t locate their source due to echoes.
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He grabbed his revolver and approached the building’s entrance, but backed away and remained next to a neighboring building for 40 minutes, making radio calls. He stated that if he had known where the gunman was, he would have charged into the building.
Outside the building, technicians were recording the sound of gunfire to capture what Deputy Peterson might have heard during the attαck.
The victims’ families who filed the case claim Peterson knew where Cruz was but retreated out of cowardice and in violation of his duty to protect their loved ones.
In the first U.S. prosecution of a law enforcement officer for conduct during an on-campus sh00ting, Peterson, 60, was found not guilty of felony child maltreatment and other criminal counts in June.
In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is lower. Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips permitted the reenactment but stated that she would not rule whether the tape would be used at trial. She noted that this would have to be argued later. Peterson’s attorneys will very indeed object.
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