Four sheriff’s deputies had a chance to confront the gunman killing students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week but instead hid behind their cars, a new report claims.
This week, new details have been emerging about the February 14 shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people, including the opportunities law enforcement officers may have had to bring an early end to the massacre. On Friday, sources at the Carol Springs Police Department told CNN that their officers came onto the scene last Thursday to find that there were three deputies hiding behind cars, joining the school’s resource officer who also remained outside during the massacre.
The deputy, Scot Peterson, has come under fire for his actions and resigned this week, CNN reported. Peterson had an excellent record of service and glowing reviews leading up to last week’s incident, the report noted, but he has become the source of much of the blame surrounding the massacre after he chose not to enter the school during the shooting.
As the New York Post noted, there is growing animosity between the Broward County Sheriff’s Department and the Coral Springs Police Department. Last week, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum had a confrontation with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over the failure of deputies to take action, the report noted.
In part because of the inaction of the sheriff’s deputies, the suspected school shooter was able to escape the building by hiding among the students who were fleeing the building, The Guardian noted. In the close to two hours after the shooting he was able to go to Walmart, where he bought a drink at a Subway, and went to McDonald’s, where he was later caught.
The report hinted that at least some of the bloodshed of the Florida school shooting could have been curbed if action was taken faster. The suspect allegedly arrived at the school at 2:19 p.m. and started shooting two minutes later, going from room to room to shoot victims.
The three other sheriff’s deputies who hid behind cars rather than entering Stoneman Douglas High School have not been identified, and it is not yet clear if they might face disciplinary action for the incident.