Parkland father climbs crane near White House to deliver gun violence message
The father of a boy who died in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School climbed a construction crane near the White House on Monday in an effort to encourage action on gun violence.
Manuel Oliver — the father of Joaquin Oliver, who died in the fatal shooting exactly four years ago — climbed the construction crane early Monday before unveiling a banner with an image of Joaquin, according to Fox 5 DC.
He was later taken into custody, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police Department, along with two other individuals — one of whom was allegedly also on the crane. Authorities, however, did not identify the other individuals.
Manuel posted a video on Twitter on Monday morning of himself on top of the crane. The father’s words are difficult to understand because of the wind blowing in the background.
In one part, however, he is heard saying “so the whole world will listen to Joaquin today.”
“He has a very important message. I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago. Never got that meeting,” he added.
Patricia Oliver, the wife of Manuel Oliver and mother of Joaquin, told Fox 5 DC that she and her husband were “trying to give Joaquin one more” chance for his voice to be heard.
She said Manuel Oliver is trying to send a message to President Biden, urging him to take action on gun violence.
“Joaquin is up there, at the crane, because Manuel has to represent him. So he’s trying to send a message to Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden, we have lost 45,000 people since your administration is started,” she said, looking straight into the camera.
Patricia Oliver said she and her husband are launching a website called ShockMarket.org “where you can see in lifetime how many people we’ve been seeing that they been losing their life.”
She pleaded with Biden to “take action.”
“Please, please take action. Today is being my fourth year without Joaquin. But Joaquin is today there sending a message. Please listen to him. You said it, you’re gonna do something. Take action,” she added.
Fourteen students and three educators were fatally shot on Feb. 14, 2018, when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., marking the deadliest high school shooting in the country. The shooter, who at the time was a student at the school, pleaded guilty to all charges connected to the incident in October.
The 2018 shooting gave rise to the March for Our Lives movement, an effort that advocates for ending gun violence.
Democrats have tried to enact gun control reform a number of times in the aftermath of the 2018 shooting, though they have remained largely unsuccessful.
The latest attempt was in December, when Senate Democrats tried to proceed on legislation the House passed in March that seeks to expand background checks. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), however, blocked the request.
Biden used Monday’s four-year anniversary of the deadly shooting as an opportunity to press Congress to enact measures addressing gun violence in the U.S. He wrote in a statement that Congress “must do much more” to combat violent crime in the U.S.
Asked about Oliver’s demonstration Monday morning, White House Rapid Response Director Michael Gwin told The Hill in a statement that “Biden’s heart goes out to Mr. Oliver, the other families of the Parkland shooting victims, and to all Americans who have been affected by gun violence.”
He cited the strategy the president laid out in June to address gun violence, asserting that Biden has done more combat gun violence thus far in his term than and other president in history.
“There’s always going to be more work to do when any American’s life is lost to senseless gun violence, but the President has done more to fight gun violence through executive action in his first year than any President in history, and he’s committed to keeping up that work every day he’s in the White House,” Gwin said.
Asked if the president has plans to meet with Oliver anytime soon, Gwin said Biden has personally met with him in the past, and noted that Cedric Richmond and Susan Rice, both of whom are top officials and Biden advisers, “met at length with Mr. Oliver at the White House” late last year.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it responded to the 700 block of 15th St. NW in Washington, D.C., at approximately 5:40 a.m. to reports of unwanted individuals. Upon arrival authorities apprehended one individual, then took the two individuals located on the crane into custody.
All three individuals were arrested at the scene.
Updated: 1:10 p.m.
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