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Father of teen killed in the Parkland school shooting climbs crane to protest Biden

The father of one of the pupils slaughtered in the Parkland school shooting climbed a 150-foot crane near the White House early Monday to protest President Biden and demand action on gun violence.

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Manuel Oliver posted video footage from atop the giant crane Monday — the fourth anniversary of losing his son Joaquin, 17, in the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He unfurled a giant poster “in front” of the White House aimed at the commander-in-chief, decrying how “45K people died from gun violence on your watch.”

“I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago. Never got that meeting. So now I’m back with Joaquin,” he said in the video clip, saying it was “so the whole world will listen to Joaquin today.” 

In a separate tweet, he noted how he had come to Washington, DC, in December, when he spent three weeks outside the White House in a doomed attempt to get time with the president.

Manuel Oliver climbed a crane near the White House to protest gun violence on February 14, 2022.
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

“Today GUAC is with me making [his] own statement!” Oliver wrote, using his nickname for his son.

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“So the whole nation can judge our reality. 150 feet high in front of the WH. Peaceful action.”

In the tweet and his video, Oliver noted heavy police presence during his protest, saying in the video it was “fine.”

The protest comes on the fourth anniversary of Oliver's son Joaquin dying in the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The protest comes on the fourth anniversary of Oliver’s son Joaquin dying in the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Angel Chevrestt

“But again, Happy Valentine’s,” he said, the day that his son was among 14 pupils and three educators shot dead. “To all of you from Joaquin Oliver.”

While he was still atop the crane, his wife, Patricia Padauy-Oliver, tweeted a video from below addressed to “Mr. Biden.”

“My husband is up there on the crane representing our son, Joaquin, with a big banner with a message on it. Please pay attention,” she said.

“We are demanding action from your side because we haven’t seen a difference due to gun violence,” she said. “Please take action.”

Police sealed off the area, and Oliver was eventually seen climbing down with someone else, according to ABC 7 News.

Once back on the ground, he was met by officers who escorted him in handcuffs into an ambulance, the station reported. DC police confirmed to the Washington Post that one person was arrested after a tactical unit and negotiators were sent.

At a similar time, the president tweeted about the anniversary of the school shooting.

“Today we mourn with the Parkland families whose lives were upended and stand with those working to end the epidemic of gun violence. Congress must act,” he tweeted.

Oliver unfurled a banner with a picture of his son and a message for Biden on gun violence.
Oliver unfurled a banner with a picture of his son and a message for Biden on gun violence.

The Olivers previously spoke to the Washington Post about their frustrations at spending three weeks camped outside the White House without getting to see the commander-in-chief.

“President Biden should be very offended by what’s going on under his watch in the country,” Manuel said at the time.

“We remember our kid with every single action we do, because we carry Joaquin’s intentions in every single action we do. 

Oliver previously asked for a meeting with President Biden.
Oliver previously asked for a meeting with President Biden.

“And so far, we’d rather do that than just build a memorial for our son. No. This is the memorial: everyday actions.”

Gunman Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in connection with the massacre. “I am very sorry for what I did and I have to live with it every day,” said Cruz, now 23. 

The penalty trial has been delayed until April after prosecutors said they needed more time to interview the mental health experts who are expected to testify on his behalf.

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