Parkland shooting site toured by members of Congress prior to reenactment with live gunfire

The crackle of gunshots will again sound across the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Friday, as part of a lawsuit over the shooting that left 17 dead and 17 wounded.

With live ammunition and the same type of rifle used in the 2018 attack, experts conduct tests for a lawsuit by victims’ families against the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the on-campus deputy who failed to intervene to stop the massacre.

At 8 a.m. Friday, sheriff’s deputies had blocked off streets around the campus. The street facing the 1200 building, where the massacre took place, was filled with news media. A news helicopter circled the scene.

The first event of the day would be a visit by members of Congress, who will tour the halls and classrooms that were the scenes of the shooting. The first members of the delegation, which includes family members of the victims, appeared to approach the door of building 1200 shortly after 8 a.m.

The building is planned to be demolished after Friday’s events.

The exact time of the reenactment, which will be closed to the media, has not been released. The city of Parkland alerted area residents of the planned test.

Deputy Scot Peterson, the only armed law enforcement officer on campus when the shooting began, took cover at a nearby building for more than 40 minutes, never doing anything to confront the killer. Peterson, 60, was acquitted in June of felony child neglect and other criminal charges for failing to act, the first U.S. trial in history of a law enforcement officer for conduct during an on-campus shooting.

He claimed he couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from. Victims’ families vilified him as a coward and a liar, and their lawsuit against him led to the Friday’s live-fire test, which is intended to establish whether or not he could have known the source of the gunfire.

Todd Foot, who lives across from the school and whose son attended school there, came out of his house to film on his phone as the delegation entered. He said his son went to the school when the shooting happened.

“If it’s going to help the case of holding Scott Peterson accountable and parents are OK with it, then I’m OK with it,” he said. “But it’s traumatic for the whole community again.”

He’s looking forward to the demolition of the building.

“We’ve been waiting for it to be knocked down for 5 and a half years,” he said. “Justice hasn’t been done so far with the shooter getting a non-death sentence … Hopefully [peterson] gets sued into oblivion.”

The Congressional members’ visit comes at the invitation of Max Schachter, whose son Alex was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, attack. Leading the delegation will be Democrat Jared Moskowitz and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart, who will visit hallways and classrooms that remain virtually untouched since the massacre, with blood stains and bullet scars. Victims’ family members will participate in the tour, which will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

Road closures will begin at 2 a.m. on Pine Island Road/Coral Springs Drive from North Community Park (just north of Westview Drive) to the intersection of Pine Island and Holmberg Road.

Holmberg will be closed off from the Pine Island intersection west to the Heron Bay Boulevard roundabout, also starting at 2 a.m.

It’s not yet clear how long the roads will be closed, so anyone who needs to travel through the area should plan a detour ahead of time.

This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

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