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Dad whose son was murdered in Parkland: "We came to this country to be safe"

Parkland parents say kids are still at risk

Manuel Oliver said the No. 1 reason he and his family came to the United States was to be safe. Instead, his son was shot dead a year ago while attending high school in Parkland, Florida.

Last week, Oliver interrupted a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence when a congressman pivoted the discussion to building a border wall. "I hope we do not forget the pain and anguish and sense of loss felt by those all over the country who have been the victims of violence at the hands of illegal aliens," said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Seconds later, Oliver interrupted.

"My son Joaquin was murdered by an American white male born here," Oliver, who is from Venezuela, said Thursday on CBSN. He was "murdered by a problem that we have in here that needs to be solved here."

"Now we have more reason to stay here than the ones that we had to move here," he added.

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, marked one year since Joaquin — a 17-year-old high school senior — and 16 others were killed in a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Oliver and his wife Patricia have been fighting for change and pushing for tougher gun laws and improved school safety.

He said some goals have been reached but that "it's just the beginning."

"Today, still, your kids are not safe enough," Oliver said. "There was no way for us to protect Joaquin, but we decided that we will protect every other kid in this nation."

There are "many things that still need to be done," he said, "and that's what we're fighting for."

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill requiring background checks for all gun sales and transfers, sending it to the floor. If the full House approves it, the bill will be the most significant legislation on gun control that either chamber of Congress has approved in at least ten years, The Associated Press reported.

"That's a benefit for everyone, regardless of which party you belong to or if you're a gun owner or not," Oliver said. "This is a good thing."

Oliver showed CBS News Evening News anchor Jeff Glor a letter he said Joaquin wrote for a class assignment five years before he was killed. In the letter, Joaquin pleaded for background checks.

"You shouldn't have anything against background checks, if you're innocent," the letter said, according to Oliver.

Joaquin was 12 years old when he wrote it.

"Isn't that amazing," Oliver said. "My son was fighting for this way before me (and) the kids from Parkland."

School Shooting Florida
Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland High School shooting victim Joaquin Oliver. AP
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