On Friday, experts will perform the 2018 Florida School Shooting with live rounds of ammo that can be heard up to a mile away. Some residents have called this “insane,” and “horrific.”
The reenactment was part of a lawsuit filed by the families of victims against Scot Peterson and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, his former employer.
This is horrifying. “Our town has had enough,” Whitney Miller wrote on Facebook in response to a story about the closing of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school campus for the demonstration and the nearby roads.
“I cannot understand why this reenactment of the battle is needed,” wrote Valerie Lawless. This borders on madness. Haven’t the victims’ families suffered enough? “Just let it go.”
In one of the most deadly school shootings ever in U.S. History, Nikolas Cruz (now 24) stalked the three-floor classroom building using an assault rifle. The massacre left 17 dead. Another 17 were injured.
Cruz was found guilty of the crime in 2021, and sentenced to a life-long prison sentence.
As technicians outside record gunfire sounds, ballistics experts will fire as many as 139 shots in the building. This is to mimic what Peterson heard.
Peterson, 60 years old, was found not guilty of child neglect, felony charges, and other criminal offenses in June for failing to enter, engage, and assist the victims, during the six minute rampage.
The burden of proof is lower in civil cases.
His lawyers claimed that he was not able to hear the entire shooting due to the echoes and would have acted differently had he known the shooter in the building.
He radioed to his colleagues outside: “Be informed we may have firecrackers.” I believe we have possible shots fired in 1200 buildings.
Attorneys for the victims’ families claim that the reenactment would prove that Peterson was able to hear the chaos that took place inside the building and that he could have saved many lives.
Hunter Pollack (26), the brother of Meadow Pollack who was killed in the protest, and whose family is the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that he sympathized with the members of the community, but deemed the demonstration necessary.
“[Peterson] was not held criminally accountable and if that is the only way we can hold him accountable then this should be done,” said he to Fox News Digital.
Tony Montalto who lost his daughter Gina (14 years old) agreed with Hunter Pollack.
Montalto stated that Peterson’s dismissal of criminal charges does not mean he is innocent of doing the right thing.
Ryan Petty’s daughter Alaina, who died in the shooting, accused Peterson of cowardice.
“I stood on the door of the 1200 building, where Scot Peterson retreated, and stood behind an pillar for about 48 minutes, frozen. While innocent lives were lost, other officers arrived and searched for the killer, and provided medical assistance,” said the dad, who isn’t a plaintiff in this civil lawsuit.
Peterson’s daughter, who was in the first-floor apartment when she was killed, was there before he arrived.
He added, “If he’d had the courage to stop him, other lives could have saved.”
David Brill is the attorney who is leading this reenactment. He did not respond to a request for comment. Michael Piper is the attorney for Peterson. He declined to make any comments.
Circuit Judge Carol Lisa Phillips has agreed to the demonstration, but she is yet to decide whether the recording can be used at trial.
The ballistics specialists will retrace Cruz’s steps throughout the building. It has been preserved for over five years as a crime-scene.
Floors are still covered in dried blood, balloons that have deflated and withered flowers.
After the reenactment the Broward School District announced that it would begin demolishing the structure, which had been hidden behind a fence.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.