The father of a Parkland High School shooting victim is on his way home now after spending two weeks protesting outside the White House, trying to meet President Joe Biden to push for gun control.
While Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed, did not meet with the president, he did meet with White House officials, he said.
Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was one of 17 killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“On Thursday, after standing in front of the White House for 15 days, I met with [Senior Adviser to the President] Cedric Richmond, [Domestic Policy Adviser] Susan Rice and other administration officials working to tackle the public health crisis of gun violence,” Oliver said in a statement.
“I expressed my frustration with the administration’s limited focus on this critical issue and communicated my expectation — and the expectations of survivors across the country — that the administration will step up its commitment in year two and outline a clear plan of action at next year’s State of the Union.”
Oliver said that he felt reassured that the “White House understands the urgency of addressing this crisis and the need for the president to become more involved.”
“We asked yesterday that we needed President Biden … to declare war [on] gun violence. … If he doesn’t, we will,” he told CNN.
Settlement with government
Last month, the families of victims of the 2018 mass shooting announced they had reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the federal government, claiming the FBI failed to stop the shooting despite knowing the shooter’s intentions.
Weeks before the shooting, the FBI received a tip from an anonymous caller saying the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought guns and was planning to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up.”
“I know he’s going to explode,” the caller told the FBI.
The information was never passed on to the FBI’s South Florida office, and officials never questioned Cruz, who had been expelled from the high school a year prior.
Cruz, now 23, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and likely will be sentenced to death or life in prison when a penalty trial is held, starting in January.
In October, families settled a case with the Broward County school district for $25 million.