Sunrise, FL – At a meeting on Wednesday, the state commission investigating the Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at Parkland high school saw a second-by-second account of where the school resource officer was, relative to the location of the shooter (video below).
Broward Sheriff’s Office Detective Zack Scott walked the assembled group through an animated video presentation of what the school shooter was doing inside the Freshman Building.
It was matched up against a timeline of what former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson was doing at the exact same time outside.
Det. Scott stopped repeatedly during the presentation to explain what exactly the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission were seeing, including the body count as the shooter progressed through the building.
The video showed that the school resource officer arrived at the building and heard gunshots while the shooter was still on the first floor of the building.
“So if Peterson had gone through the door, he would have encountered the shooter?” the chairman of the commission, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, asked.
“Entirely possible,” Det. Scott responded.
Most members of the commission agreed that if Peterson had acted according to current police protocols and policies, fewer people would have died on Feb. 14, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
“So as Cruz was moving down the hallway, Peterson was standing at the door,” Sheriff Gualtieri reasoned aloud at the meeting.
“And either at the time or just before he shot Feis, Peterson was standing at that door,” the sheriff asked rhetorically, referring to the 37-year-old Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach who was murdered by the shooter that day.
At times during the meeting, the sheriff appeared challenged to control his anger at what he was seeing in the video.
“Peterson fled back over to the 7/8 building as opposed to going in and chasing him up the stairs and shooting him,” Sheriff Gualtieri declared.
That’s when then-Deputy Peterson got on the radio and ordered officers to stay away from the 1200 Building and told the dispatcher to have the intersections closed.
“What he’s saying here at this juncture is totally contrary to all law enforcement protocol and policy… telling people to lockdown intersections at this juncture when the guy was still on the second floor,” the sheriff ranted.
There was discussion of the Coral Springs police response in relation to the Broward Sheriff’s Office timeline, a highly controversial subject after it was revealed that Coral Springs SWAT officers were the first law enforcement to enter the building, 11 minutes after the shooting first began.
Sheriff Gualtieri told the Sun-Sentinel that the surveillance video and animated presentation clearly explained what had happened.
“If you’re a responding Broward sheriff’s deputy, and you have the deputy that’s on campus, who’s there in the best position, telling you what to do — i.e. lockdown intersections, they’re going to do what the guy who’s on campus is telling them to do,” he said.
“Coral Springs didn’t hear that direction. So Coral Springs is coming right in. Why are they coming right in? Because they weren’t hearing this nonsense direction about locking down intersections,” Sheriff Gualtieri explained.
The investigation so far showed that the gunman had reloaded his weapon five times during the course of his rampage, and commission members said the short breaks would have allowed a responding officer who was inside the Freshman Building to stop him from killing more people, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Seventeen students and faculty were murdered during the 11 minute shooting spree, and another 17 were wounded, before the shooter blended in with evacuating students and fled the campus.
Det. Scott’s presentation showed where the former school resource officer and the school’s two unarmed security guards were during the horrific event.
Peterson was hiding only 69 feet away from the door of the building where the gunman was still shooting people, but made no attempt to enter as he issued outdated orders that kept immediate help from getting to those in the building.
As Peterson hid behind a pole, the shooter went up to the second and third floors of the building and murdered more people, Det. Scott’s timeline showed.
Sheriff Gualtieri said the commission wanted Peterson to testify before them at the October meeting and explain why he did what he did on that fateful day.
“It’s very important, and he should answer,” the sheriff told the Sun-Sentinel during a break. “He went on the Today Show, and he talked to The Washington Post, so he should answer questions from this fact-finding commission. He told a self-serving story on the Today Show in a friendly environment so he can answer questions from this commission.”
Watch part of the animated video presentation in the video below: