A 20-minute delay in surveillance footage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reportedly led police to mistakenly believe that they were seeing the gunman carry out his actions in real time when he had already exited the school.
Sources told the Sun-Sentinel that the tape delay complicated police’s efforts in apprehending Nikolas Cruz, 19. While police believed they were seeing the suspect move from the third to second floor, a timeline released by the Broward Sheriff’s Office indicated that he had fled the freshman building 26 minutes earlier and was at a McDonald’s located a mile away.
Cruz was taken into custody an hour later in a neighborhood about two miles away from the high school.
Police transmissions reviewed by the Sentinel also indicated that police had difficulty finding someone who could access the footage. At one point, police can be heard asking for Scot Peterson, a school resource officer who was on the 45-acre campus when the shooting occurred.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the newspaper that Stoneman Douglas, like many other schools in the county, has cameras that allow someone to view footage in real-time or with a delay. Runcie said he was unaware that police were confused about whether the tape they were watching was live.
Additionally, Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi claimed Thursday that there was nothing wrong with the school’s equipment. However, he said he believes that issues arose when the person reviewing the tape failed to relay to officers that there was a 20-minute delay, according to WTVJ.
He said, “It added to some confusion…because the officers that are in the school trying to find him were given inaccurate information, unintentionally, it’s just miscommunication, but that 20-minute delay did cause some confusion.”
[Featured Image: Stoneman Douglas High School/Associated Press]