Parkland school shooting re-enacted as part of civil lawsuit

Members of Congress walk through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of re-enactment

The restaging of the school shooting, one of the deadliest in US history, was part of a civil lawsuit against a police officer. AP
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Gunfire rang out again at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday, this time as part of a re-enactment of the shooting that killed 14 pupils and three faculty members five years ago.

The restaging of the school shooting, one of the deadliest in US history, was part of a civil lawsuit against Scot Peterson, a police officer who was stationed outside the Parkland, Florida, high school when the shooting began on February 14, 2018.

Lawyers for the families of the victims and survivors who filed the lawsuit have said surveillance video and the re-enactment would prove that Mr Peterson heard the 70-plus shots but avoided confronting the gunman, Reuters reported.

“That re-enactment will hopefully help us obtain justice in the court system, justice which has so far eluded our families,” Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the shooting, said at a news conference.

In June, Mr Peterson was acquitted by a Florida jury of criminal charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury connected the shooting.

Mr Peterson has maintained that he had remained outside because he could not determine the source of the gunfire.

His lawyer, Michael Piper, said in a statement that several witnesses had given evidence in the criminal case that they perceived shots coming from all over the campus.

No trial date has been set. The families and wounded are seeking unspecified damages.

On Friday, gunfire was heard coming from the Parkland campus at about midday, The Sun Sentinel reported.

Ballistic experts were expected to fire up to 139 live rounds to recreate the sounds that emanated from the building during the 2018 shooting, the newspaper said.

Earlier in the day, six Democrats and three Republicans from the House of Representatives School Safety and Security Caucus toured the building for almost two hours – an experience few have had since the shooting.

They called it a “time-capsule” of the attack's devastation, the Associated Press reported.

“We just had a shared experience that will transform our lives for the rest of our lives. To see the blood of children on the floor in a school together, is going to change the way we interact and collaborate,” New York Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman said.

It has remained largely unaltered since the 2018 shooting, with bloodstains and bullet holes still visible.

“You can read about it all day long, and debate it all day long, but it is not the same as walking through the school,” said Florida Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Stoneman Douglas graduate.

“It is now the home of the largest [high] school shooting in our history,” he said.

The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, a former pupil at the school who was 19 at the time of the massacre, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life without parole in 2022.

Updated: August 04, 2023, 7:43 PM