The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has some serious problems. I mean serious ones.
Not only did the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas hunker down as the killer stalked the halls of the high school he was charged with protecting, but a new report finds that he wasn’t alone in hiding.
The deputies who were among the first to arrive to the scene of the Florida school massacre were found taking cover behind their cars and a nearby tree and had no idea where the gunman was, according to an official report released Tuesday.
The report from Coral Springs Officer Bryan Wilkins details how he arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School within minutes of the active shooter alert — only to find Broward County Sheriff’s Officers hadn’t entered the school, but were instead taking cover.
“I saw approximately four Broward County Sheriff’s Office vehicles parked in the west bound lane with their personnel taking up exterior positions behind their vehicles,” Wilkins wrote. “I drove up just west of the campus building 1200, exited my vehicle, grabbed my AR-15 rifle and donned on my tactical/medical gear. As I was advancing on foot through the chain-link fence, I was advised by an unknown BSO Deputy taking cover behind a tree, ‘he is on the third floor.'”
Wilkins added he was joined by a Coral Springs detective and a Broward deputy to enter the building, where he saw the dead and wounded. The police officer’s report was first revealed by the Miami Herald.
Seventeen people were killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting, during which alleged gunman Nicholas Cruz opened fire and then fled five minutes before officers went into the building.
In another police report released Tuesday, Coral Springs Officer Scott Myers wrote that police were originally told by dispatch that authorities were watching the gunman on surveillance video, who was “preparing to exit the East stairwell on the second floor.”
“We were prepared to engage the shooter on the second floor,” Myers wrote. “After several moments we were advised the CCTV was not live and that an unknown delay existed. We were later informed that the suspect was seen exiting the building via CCTV. Our team transitioned to a rescue team and we evacuated every classroom on the second floor.”
The report also revealed that the classroom doors had small windows. This allowed the shooter to fire into locked classrooms.
Law enforcement doctrine changed following the Columbine killing. Police are no longer supposed to wait outside while a rampage killing is taking place on the other side of the walls. Instead, the thinking is that police should enter the building and engage the shooter, thus keeping him or her from murdering innocent people.
It’s a sound strategy. Police have access to body armor and weapons that can more than match the killers’. And once they engage the killer, he or she has a choice: they can either keep trying to kill kids and be shot quickly, or they can try to fight the police…and be shot quickly. Either way, the shooting ends before more kids or school staff are killed.
But the Broward County Sheriff’s Office didn’t do that. They waited until other police got there.
I’m sorry, but how many people died because of that decision? From what I understand, Broward County doctrine calls for the standard response, more or less. If I remember it correctly–I can’t find it in my notes at the moment–when three deputies or other officers are present, they are to enter the building and end the threat. They had that and did nothing.
This rests on Sheriff Scott Israel’s head.