Members of a police force that aided in the response to last week’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, said they arrived to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to find that some of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office responding deputies remained outside the school as Nikolas Cruz shot at teachers and students, ultimately killing 17 people.
Members of the Coral Springs Police Department told CNN that they arrived to find three Broward Country deputies standing by their vehicles with their guns drawn, but had not entered the building. This is in addition to finding that School Resource Deputy (SRD) Scot Peterson, the only armed officer on campus when the shooting broke out, also had not entered the building. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Peterson retired and resigned on Thursday after an internal review found that he had not remained outside the building as the massacre was taking place.
The Coral Springs officers claimed that the Broward County deputies who remained outside directed them to go into the building, along with two additional Broward County sheriff deputies and police officer from Sunrise who had just arrived on the scene.
According to the CNN report, the Coral Springs officers were “stunned” by the lack of response from some of the Broward County deputies. A report detailing the response is expected to be released next week, and some sources told CNN that an official account may not exactly match what the Coral Springs officers remembered observing.
CNN obtained an internal email that Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi sent to his department on February 16. It read, in part:
“I understand that another agency has given the impression that it had provided the majority of the rescue efforts, and that the tremendous work of the Coral Springs Police and Fire Departments has not been recognized. Please know that this issue will be addressed, and the truth will come out in time. The focus for us now, however, must be on healing — for ourselves, our families, our community and those residents surrounding us. While recognition is not the reason we choose to do what we do, our Commission, City Manager and residents are well aware of the actions our members took in the face of danger and the heroes that you are.”
Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confirmed in a statement to CNN that he confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel at a vigil for the deceased students and teachers on February 15 about the alleged inaction of some of his deputies, but said that he and Israel are continuing to cooperate after the emotionally-charged exchange.
“Given the horrific events of that day emotions were running high and the sheriff and I had a heated moment the following evening,” Goodrum told CNN.
“Sheriff Israel and I have spoken several times since and I can assure you that our departments have a good working relationship and the utmost respect for each other.”
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
[Feature image: Associated Press]