Taft Union High School shooting victim sues district

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — More than six years after a Taft Union High School shooting left then-student Bowe Cleveland seriously wounded, his family is suing the Taft Union High School District, seeking damages and claiming administrators ignored warning signs.

On Jan. 10, 2013, Bryan Oliver, a former student at the school, opened fire with a shot gun, seriously injuring fellow student Cleveland. Cleveland was shot in the chest, and has since underwent more than 30 surgeries.

Oliver plead no contest in 2015 to to two counts of attempted murder without premeditation in 2015 and was sentenced to 27 years.

His family claims T.U.H.S.D should be held civilly liable.

In court Friday, the attorneys representing both sides met for a final conference in which a judge decided which evidence will be allowed for trial. The family’s attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, said he has documents, testimony, and other evidence that proves the school district had ample warning indicating Olivier had a desire to shoot up the school.

However, Rodriguez said the district ignored those signs. Rodriguez also claimed that the district was careless in leaving a gate unlocked that allowed the gunman to get through. He also said the school district had more than 30 surveillance cameras, but none were monitored at the time of the shooting.

“They had 10 months worth of all kinds of threats and basically ignored them,” Rodriguez said during an interview with 17 News. “They have protocols in place, and these protocols work, but you have to implement them. They can look nice and fancy in binders and safety manuals, but if you don’t follow them, they don’t do any good.”

Daniel Rodriguez, attorney; Rodriguez & Associates

KGET reached out to the Taft Union High School District. Leonard Herr, the attorney representing T.U.H.S.D., issued the following statement:

“We know than on January 10, 2013, it wasn’t the school facility or safety measures that resulted in this shooting — it was the actions of one individual.”

Leonard Herr, Attorney for Taft Union High School District

Juror selection in for this case is set for early next week. Immediately following, trial is scheduled to begin.

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