It just keeps getting worse and worse. CNN reports it wasn’t just Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson who waited outside during the shooting, apparently, the first three officers to arrive on scene joined him in waiting outside, hiding behind their cars with their guns drawn:
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.
There are some appropriate caveats in the story (by Jake Tapper) including that the final report will be based on recordings from the scene, not on officer’s recollections of what happened. Also, it’s not clear how long the other three officers were outside relative to the shooting itself. Maybe the gunshots had ended already? That doesn’t make their inaction acceptable, it’s just an acknowledgment that, until all the facts are in, we don’t exactly know how egregious this was. But it sounds like this was egregious enough that Coral Springs City Manager let Sheriff Scott Israel know what he thought about his officers sitting out the attack during a vigil for the victims last week:
The resentment among Coral Springs officials toward Broward County officials about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty may have reached a boiling point at a vigil the night of February 15, where, in front of dozens of others, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A source familiar with the conversation tells CNN that Goodrum was upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons.
The Coral Springs PD has now released a statement in response to Tapper’s story. You can read the full thing below but the gist is that they are dumping on all of the Broward officers. But the statement also suggests they won’t be covering for the ones who failed to act (“we are being transparent through this investigation”).
Coral Springs Police Department statement about our story tonight: pic.twitter.com/j3PL6LNL2z
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 23, 2018
As quite a few people have pointed out, Sheriff Israel knew about all of this before he went on stage with CNN last night and trashed the NRA and Dana Loesch, effectively blaming them. No doubt all of that would have sounded much more self-serving if the entire audience had known the first four of his officers on the scene sat outside hiding behind their cars. Sheriff Israel is scheduled to appear on CNN again this Sunday so he’ll have a chance to revise and extend his remarks.