A new report issued Tuesday says that the first deputies to arrive at the scene of the February 14 massacre inside a Florida high school hid behind their patrol cars — and a nearby tree — and did not enter the school until after the gunman had left the building.
“The report from Coral Springs Officer Bryan Wilkins details how he arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School within minutes of the active shooter alert — only to find Broward County Sheriff’s Officers hadn’t entered the school, but were instead taking cover,” Fox News reported.
“I saw approximately four Broward County Sheriff’s Office vehicles parked in the west bound lane with their personnel taking up exterior positions behind their vehicles,” Wilkins wrote. “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.”
The deputies hid even though one said he knew where the shooter was, according the Miami Herald.
“I was advised by an unknown BSO Deputy taking cover behind a tree, ‘he is on the third floor,’ ” Wilkins said, according to the Herald report.
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 [name redacted] 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.
The newly released reports suggest the problems with BSO’s response to the Parkland shooting go beyond the school’s resource officer, Deputy Scot Peterson, who was at the school when the shooting began but never went into the freshman building attacked by [the shooter]. At least three other BSO deputies arrived on campus in time to hear gunfire but said they couldn’t locate where the shooting was taking place. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel held a news conference in February to announce Peterson’s resignation, saying he was “sick to my stomach” the deputy didn’t go inside.
When Wilkins and Coral Springs Detective Gil Monzon finally entered, the shooter had already fled about five minutes before.