Watch CBS News

Coral Springs Police Chief Praises First Responders: "We Did Save Lives That Day, As Tragic As It Was"

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – New information was revealed Thursday afternoon about the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Overlooked in their massive and heroic response to the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, the Coral Springs Police chief Thursday called a news conference to set the record straight

"We did save lives that day, as tragic as it was," said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi, giving first responders from his city their due.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is just three miles from headquarters and Coral Springs Police and Fire were among the first to respond to the mass shooting on Valentine's Day, February 14th.

Sargent Carla Kmiotek was at the front of the pack.

"There was a moment I had a little bit of self-acceptance that this could be a deadly, lethal situation and I came to terms with it because this is what I do for a living and I knew I had to go in there and do the best that I could to stop the bad guy if he was still in the building and just to start helping kids," she said.

But in news conferences after the massacre, Coral Springs wasn't mentioned.

That compelled the chief to send an email to staff last Friday which reads in part, "Another agency has given the impression that it provided the majority of rescue efforts and that Coral Springs has not been recognized. The truth will come out in time."

Coral Springs Fire Rescue says they transported 14 shooting victims.

"Our paramedics, our SWAT paramedics, our police officers in Coral Springs and throughout the area were putting tourniquets on kids and putting chest seals on kids. The trauma surgeon said those kids wouldn't be alive if it weren't for those efforts," said Mike Moser with Coral Springs Fire Rescue.

The chief also put to rest the rumors saying his officers were told to wait for BSO SWAT to arrive before they could go inside.

"I can tell you definitively no, we don't do that," Pustizzi said. "All our officers are trained the same way. We all do the same movements; we know how to aggressively go into a situation to save lives. That's what our job is."

The chief also made one other clarification.

There was surveillance video throughout the Stoneman Douglas campus and for a while, some of the tame was given to officers and it was not in real time, rather on a twenty minute delay.

As officers watched the shooter thinking he was still in the building, he had actually already exited the school.

Officers say that while this added to the confusion, it did not cause any additional loss of life.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.