Parkland, FL – Broward County deputies who arrived at the scene of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on Feb. 14 were told they could not enter the school, unless their body cameras were activated, FOX News reported on Monday night.
But the deputies did not have bodycams, so they did not have clearance to enter the building, or to engage the 19-year-old gunman, who fatally shot 17 students and faculty, and wounded 14 more, according to FOX News.
Sources also told FOX News that some of the police radio communications were not recorded, or the recordings have been lost, from the time of the shooting incident.
Prior to the release of this new information, 74 Florida lawmakers had already called for Sheriff Broward to resign from office, or be removed.
“Look, the more we learn about this situation, the more obvious it is that Sheriff Israel needs to resign or be removed immediately. That’s why I signed that letter, and that’s why the Florida House is moving this week to subpoena all records of Sheriff Israel,” Florida State Representative Randy Fine told FOX News.
“And we’re going to be subpoenaing and making him come up to Tallahassee to explain himself. What happened is a disgrace,” Fine said.
FOX News also reported that Broward County deputies were trained to try and resolve the conflict with an active shooter, rather than rush in and confront the person shooting.
Terry Lane, a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told FOX News he didn’t know why the deputies would have been trained that way.
“That’s against any protocol that I’ve been aware of since Columbine,” Lane said.
Retired Metro Transit Police SWAT Commander William Malone told Blue Lives Matter that law enforcement nationwide has updated strategies for dealing with an active shooter a couple of times since Columbine, when procedure called for officers to wait outside the school for the SWAT team, while students were being slaughtered inside the school.
“First, they told us to assemble a team of four, and enter that way. But that wasn’t quick enough,” Malone said.
“So they changed tactics again – the first officer on the scene should grab a long gun, spare magazines or ammunition, enter the building, and go to the sound of gunshots,” he said.
“The sooner the confrontation takes place, the sooner the killing stops,” Malone said.
An immediate entry to the scene became an accepted police practice nationwide about a year after the killing rampage at Columbine proved prior strategies completely ineffective, the former SWAT commander said.
“You don’t have time to wait for a SWAT team. There are people who need to be rescued. Even if the shooting has stopped, there’s no guarantee it won’t start up again. The first officers on the scene need to take action immediately,” Malone said.
The new information will likely bolster calls for the suspension and removal Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who placed blame squarely on the shoulders of his deputy – the school resource officer – for failing to enter the school.
“Deputies make mistakes, police officers make mistakes, we all make mistakes,” Sheriff Israel told CNN. “But it’s not the responsibility of the general or the president if you have a deserter. We’ll look into this. We’re looking into this aggressively, and we’ll take care of it, and justice will be served.”
The sheriff then touted his leadership skills.
“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” he said. “I provided amazing leadership to this agency.”
Deputy Scot Peterson, 54, resigned from his position on Thursday. He had been with the Broward County Sheriff’s office for 23 years.
“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” Peterson’s attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo said in a statement on Monday, according to the Miami Herald.
“Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need,” DiRuzzo said.
He explained that Peterson initially believed that the gunfire was coming from outside of the school, so he “took up a tactical position” between two buildings, NBC News reported.
“Sheriff Israel’s statement is, at best, a gross oversimplification of the events that transpired,” the DiRuzzo said.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also addressed concerns about emergency personnel’s response to the Florida school shooting on Monday morning interview with FOX News.
“I know a lot more than you all do now, so all I’m going to say is, yes, I believe there needs to be a full investigation,” Bondi said.
She said that some members of BCSO “weren’t honest with me, nor were they honest with the governor.”
The attorney general was asked why anyone would have lied to those investigating the incident.
“If they were there and didn’t want people to know they were there, then that would be it,” Bondi said.