Parkland School Massacre Will Be Reenacted—Twice

Both sides in civil case will get the chance to replicate the gunfire with blanks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2023 3:37 PM CDT
Parkland School Massacre to Be Reenacted—Twice
A bicyclist rides past a sign at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

The 2018 Parkland high school massacre will be reenacted twice with the firing of about 140 blanks on campus as part of families' lawsuits against the former sheriff's deputy they accuse of failing to stop the gunman, a judge ruled Wednesday. Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips granted the motion from attorney David Brill, who says his video-recorded reenactment will prove former Broward Deputy Scot Peterson knew the shooter was firing inside a three-story classroom building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018, but chose not to intercede, per the AP.

Phillips also granted the request by Peterson's attorney, Michael Piper, who questioned the validity of such reenactments but said his side would also now need to conduct one. Peterson, the school's on-campus deputy, was acquitted last month of criminal charges accusing him of inaction, but the civil case against him, the Broward Sheriff's Office, and others is governed by different laws and rules of evidence. It also has a lower standard of proof.

The judge made it clear that she was not ruling on whether she will allow the reenactments to be played for the jury at the trial, which has not been scheduled. "That's for another day," Phillips said of that decision. She will have to review the reenactments' recordings and hear arguments on whether they accurately reflect what Peterson heard. Families of the 17 killed and 26 injured are seeking unspecified damages in lawsuits that are being tried jointly. The judge ordered that the reenactments be conducted before the school's summer break ends next month and that nearby residents be given sufficient warning. She wants them done on the same or consecutive days.

(Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

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