Jury deliberating in damages portion of school shooting civil trial

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jurors began deliberating Tuesday in the damages portion of a civil trial in which Taft Union High School District is being sued in connection with a 2013 shooting inside a science classroom.

The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before leaving the courthouse around 4:30 p.m. They will return at about 9 a.m. Wednesday to continue deliberations.

Plaintiff’s attorney Daniel Rodriguez is asking the jury to award $44,850,000 in damages to pay for the physical, mental and emotional pain Bowe Cleveland suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of the shooting.

Cleveland underwent dozens of surgeries after Bryan Oliver, another student, shot him in the chest with a shotgun. He was hospitalized for months as he recovered, and once he returned home was dependent on his family for everything, including helping him walk to the bathroom and clean himself, Rodriguez said.

Both Cleveland and Oliver were 16 at the time of the shooting.

Leonard Herr, the attorney representing the district, has asked the jury to return a “reasonable” award for Cleveland.

The jury has found district officials negligent, and that their negligence was a substantial factor in causing harm to Cleveland. The jury found the district ignored multiple warning signs regarding Oliver, who multiple teachers and students had reported made bizarre or threatening comments.

Oliver is serving a prison term of 27 years and four months. He pleaded no contest in 2015 to two counts of unpremeditated attempted murder.

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