“Already on Scene”, “Hid Behind Cars and a Tree”, Knew Where Shooter Was
Numerous Broward County Sheriff’s Deputies under the command of Scott Israel stood down for several minutes as 17 students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were shot to death and numerous others were injured by Nikolas Cruz, according to police reports released by the Coral Springs Police Department.
The documents released earlier this week came at a time when deputies delivered a resounding vote of “no confidence” to Sheriff Israel, who took office in 2013. The reports contradict Israel’s assertions days after the shooting that blamed at Parkland School Safety Officer Scot Peterson who allegedly failed to engage Cruz.
According to the Miami Herald:
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies were taking cover behind cars and a tree as they responded to the worst school shooting in Florida history — even though one deputy said he knew where the shooter was, according to an officer report released Tuesday by the Coral Springs Police Department.
“I was advised by an unknown BSO Deputy taking cover behind a tree, ‘he is on the third floor,’ ” wrote Coral Springs officer Bryan Wilkins in a report recounting his arrival at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 and his subsequent actions to try to find the shooter and save lives.
Another Coral Springs cop who arrived at Stoneman Douglas within minutes of the shooting, Sgt. Nick Mazzei, confirmed that he saw BSO deputies “taking positions” outside the school and rushed past them, according to a report he filed that was also released Tuesday.
Although the BSO deputies arrived before Coral Springs police, they didn’t immediately attempt to track down shooter Nikolas Cruz or aid the wounded, according to the reports. Law enforcement officers around the county are trained to find and confront active shooters without delay. Seventeen people died at Stoneman Douglas.
Wilkins wrote that he arrived at Stoneman Douglas within two minutes of learning it was being shot up. BSO was already there.
“I saw approximately four Broward County Sheriff’s Office vehicles parked [on the road outside the school] … with their personnel taking up exterior positions behind their vehicles,” Wilkins wrote in the report. “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.”
That’s when he encountered the BSO deputy behind the tree who said he knew where Cruz was.
Wilkins says he and Coral Springs Detective Gil Monzon, along with an “unknown BSO Deputy,” then approached the freshman building where Cruz killed 17 people. They could see bullet holes in the windows and doors.
As early as one week after the February 14, 2018 shooting Coral Springs Police officers also attested to witnessing BSO deputies standing down as the shooting ensued. Broward deputies have criticized the Broward School District for wanting to make their school more secure but at the same time being reluctant to have a heightened law enforcement presence on campuses.
The individual Coral Springs Police reports may be viewed at the links below: