The list of failures of leadership and training under Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel continues to grow. Just this afternoon we are learning that in addition to the school resource officer, Scot Peterson, three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the February 14 shooting, but did not enter.
According to CNN, Coral Springs police officers responded to the 911 calls and arrived at the school. Coral Springs is the neighboring town, just 4 miles away from Stoneman Douglas’ location in Parkland. Sources in Coral Springs described the scene and the lack of action from the Broward officers who were the first to arrive:
When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 in the midst of the school shooting crisis, many officers were surprised to find not only that Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the school and had not entered, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles, the sources said, and not one of them had gone into the school.
With direction from the Broward deputies who were outside, Coral Springs police soon entered the building where the shooter was. New Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, and two of those deputies and an officer from Sunrise, Florida, joined the Coral Springs police as they went into the building.
Some Coral Springs police were stunned and upset that the four original Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were first on the scene did not appear to join them as they entered the school, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. It’s unclear whether the shooter was still in the building when they arrived.
More information is expected to be contained in a report by the Coral Springs Police Department, to be released in about a week.
There appear to be a growing number of Coral Springs officials upset at their Broward County colleagues. CNN describes the emotions of the Coral Springs police officers and city officials as “resentment” toward Broward “about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty” during the shooting.
Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum reportedly confronted Sheriff Israel in front of dozens of witnesses at a vigil for the victims on February 15, “upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons.”
Likewise, an internal email from Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi two days after the shooting seemed to be in response to frustration from his officers about Broward’s role in the incident, stating, “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 frustration felt by these Coral Springs officials is understandable and shared by people across America.
The list of warning signs about the shooter is infuriatingly long, and we know of multiple, credible, specific complaints that were made to both the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. It was bad enough when we learned that Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed police officer assigned to Stoneman Douglas, was present at the school and arrived quickly at the building, but remained outside for over four minutes without acting.
Peterson also apparently had refused to share information about a previous incident involving the shooter with investigators from the Florida Department of Children and Families. As Patterico wrote earlier today:
It’s still not 100% clear what authorities could have done about this kid if they had done their jobs — but it is clear they didn’t do their jobs. The FBI might not have been able to stop anything — but they didn’t even bother to learn the kid’s identity. The Sheriff’s Department refused to share information with investigators, took dozens of reports, and did nothing. And then this deputy failed to act at the critical moment when he could have saved children’s lives.
Teacher Aaron Feis threw himself in front of students to protect them from the bullets, armed with nothing except his own all-too-mortal flesh and blood, but he did not hesitate.
Feis sustained fatal injuries, along with sixteen of his fellow teachers and students, while four fully armed and trained police officers stood outside and waited.
Peterson has already resigned. I can’t think of a good reason that Sheriff Israel should not do the same.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
[Cross-posted at The Capitolist.]