Father of Parkland, Fla., shooting victim climbs crane near White House on 4th anniversary of massacre

The father of one of the 17 people killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was arrested in Washington, D.C., after illegally climbing a construction crane near the White House on Monday, the fourth anniversary of the massacre.

A spokeswoman for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said it received a call at about 5:40 a.m. reporting two people on the 150-foot crane on 15th Street NW, which is adjacent to the White House. A police tactical unit and negotiators were dispatched to the scene.

One person was immediately taken into custody shortly after officers arrived. Two others who were on the crane were taken into custody after climbing down. They were later identified as Emm Augusta-Smith Talarico of Washington, D.C.; Alexander Sherwood Lundberg of St. Louis Park, Minn.; and Manuel Felipe Oliver of Coral Springs, Fla. They were each charged with unlawful entry and destruction of property.

Manuel Oliver — whose son, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting — was photographed being led away from the area in handcuffs.

Manuel Oliver yells to reporters while being led away by police.
Manuel Oliver yells to reporters while being detained by police in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Before his arrest, Oliver tweeted a video from atop the crane complaining that President Biden denied his requests for a meeting late last year.

“The whole world will listen to Joaquin today. He has a very important message,” Manuel Oliver said. “I asked for a meeting with Joe Biden a month ago — never got that meeting.”

In December, Oliver spent about two weeks protesting outside the gates of the White House in the hopes of sitting down for a discussion with Biden.

Instead, he was granted a meeting with presidential advisers, including Cedric Richmond and Susan Rice, to discuss gun violence.

“I expressed my frustration with the administration’s limited focus on this critical issue,” Oliver said after the meeting, “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.”

The White House, he added, “understands the urgency of addressing this crisis and the need for the president to become more involved.”

Oliver's wife, Patricia Padauy-Oliver, also tweeted a video while her husband was on the crane.

"Joaquin Is talking to you and America today: do everything and anything in your power to reduce gun deaths," she wrote on Twitter.

Manuel Oliver displays a banner saying
A banner calling on government officials to prioritize gun violence prevention is suspended from a construction crane near the White House on Monday. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier Monday, Biden released a lengthy statement marking the fourth anniversary of the killings.

"On this difficult day, we mourn with the Parkland families whose lives were upended in an instant; who had to bury a piece of their soul deep in the earth," he said. "We pray too for those still grappling with wounds both visible and invisible. And, as we remember those lost in Parkland, we also stand with Americans in every corner of our country who have lost loved ones to gun violence or had their lives forever altered by a shooting, in tragedies that made headlines and in ones that did not.”

Biden said ​​the administration “stands with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence,” pointing to his recent plan to curb the proliferation of “ghost” guns and his request that Congress pass legislation “requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.”

“We can never bring back those we’ve lost,” the president added. “But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe. For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation.”

Family picture of Joaquin Oliver wearing a hat marked
Joaquin Oliver. (Family handout)