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Slain Parkland victim’s father speaks out following reenactment

Ballistics experts reenacted the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday as part of a lawsuit against ex-cop Scot Peterson, who fled the scene when shots rang out.

Peterson was found not guilty in June of charges of child neglect after an internal investigation found that he retreated while students were under attack.

Families also met with members of Congress to discuss gun violence.

Manny Oliver, whose son Joaquin was one of the 14 students killed in the shooting, spoke with ABC News Live about the latest developments and his efforts to curb gun violence.

ABC NEWS LIVE: You’re actually in Highland Park right now. But before we get to why you’re there, what’s the reaction you have to the visit by members of Congress today?

MANNY OLIVER: Well, not much. Let me start by saying that today is my son’s birthday. He should have turned 23 years old today. So all my attention is on celebrating my son’s life. I understand that there was a visit to the school this morning. Some families are very involved in this. I’m not home. So, I rather spent the day just thinking about my son and how such a wonderful person he was.

ABC NEWS LIVE: Every time I get the chance to speak to you, I like to find out something new about your son. So can you share something else with us today?

OLIVER: Absolutely…We wanted to celebrate [Joaquin’s] birthday in a different way. And 23, it’s a nice number. So we decided to visit 23 locations that have suffered from gun violence directly. So that makes us just jump on our school bus and start hitting the road. [We’ve been] on the road for 34 days today, we have 20 more days ahead.

ABC NEWS LIVE: It’s a beautiful thing to do in his memory. Manny you’ve made it your life’s mission to advocate for gun violence prevention. Obviously, we’ve seen you everywhere at Congress. Tell us about the event that you held in Illinois today and who was there.

OLIVER: Well, it’s very emotional. We’re visiting places where I see people like me, and no one needs to imagine how I feel or how [my wife] Patricia feels. They already know it. We were invited to Highland Park. We had a great event honoring Joaquin and of course, honoring the victims of the shooting here. The community is very strong. They’re together and they understand as well as I do that we need to add each other’s voice to a bigger voice to a louder movement.

And I think that’s the plan. We are traveling, me and Patricia, just to make sure that everyone is listening and everyone is having their voice in need of justice [and] to our movement.

ABC NEWS LIVE: You mentioned your wife, Patricia. You both moved from your native Venezuela to the United States for a better life. Now, fighting for the memory of your son has become a major part of that life. How do you reconcile that?

OLIVER: Well, I think I failed, right? I mean, this is not a better life than the one that I had before. It’s a terrible life. This is a life that nobody wants. Some people take their lives when they’re in a situation like mine. So, but we’ve been strong, and it’s one day at a time. And I think I owe that to my son, to Joaquin. I want to keep Joaquin as an activist more than as a victim. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

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