On Feb. 14 Coral Springs Police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich was off duty and working on the athletic field at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where his wife is the assistant athletic director and his son is on the football team. When he heard shots, he “obviously…dropped the hose that I was using to water the field and ran towards the parking lot, which is where the kids were.”
Unlike the school resource officer and three other Broward County deputies, Heinrich, who was unarmed and wearing shorts and a T-shirt, ran toward the gunfire to attempt to save lives.
@CoralSpringsPD Sgt. Jeff Heinrich was off duty and working on the Stoneman Douglas field when shots rang out. He immediately helped the wounded even though he didn't know whether his wife and son inside the school were safe. #MSDStrong #DouglasStrong pic.twitter.com/RBPTnYNAhE
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) February 23, 2018
Obviously I dropped the hose that I was using to water the field and ran towards the parking lot, which is where the kids were. Immediately when I ran into the parking lot I encountered a young student that had a massive gunshot wound to his…lower ankle area. I was able to grab him and take him where I was, where I previously was, which was the baseball area.
Capt. McKeon was outside the locker room…he’s one of our SWAT guys. So he had an extra vest and his backup weapon with him, because he was using his rifle. So I took his SWAT vest, and I put it on. I was wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. Put it on, and then got his gun, his secondary weapon, and we systematically cleared back toward the 12 building.
They’re my family. Not only my family, my personal family, but the Douglas people. Those kids, teachers, and staff that I’ve known for years. My wife is the assistant athletic director who works hand-in-hand with Chris Hixon, who lost his life. Coach Feis was my son’s football coach. So it cuts on a different level for me.
All while the Broward deputies crouched behind vehicles, weapons drawn. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel knew all of this in the days leading up to the CNN Town Hall where he attacked Dana Loesch and the NRA and denied all responsibility for the massacre. Only a monster could be so devoid of compassion and decency.
Coral Springs officers were rightfully upset with Broward deputies not only for the lives lost due to their cowardice, but because Sheriff Israel refused to acknowledge that Coral Springs officers were the first ones in the line of fire.
Coral Springs Police Chief Anthony Pustizzi sent out this email to his staff on Feb 16 because, per source, some officers under his command were upset that Broward Sheriff’s Office wasn’t acknowledging that Coral Springs Police were first to charge into MSD High School: pic.twitter.com/G3DcbB3lwB
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 23, 2018
By Feb. 16, anger within the Coral Springs Police Department had reached a boiling point, and Police Chief Anthony Pustizzi sent an email to his staff to reassure them that “the truth will come out.”
“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.”
The manner in which the Broward County Sheriff’s Department handled this incident and its aftermath is completely despicable and evil. The entire leadership should resign or be fired.