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'Room Held Families That Had Not Heard From Their Child': Officers Detail Individual Response To School Shooting

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CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) -- Radio transmissions from Coral Springs Police show the frantic moments as they rushed to help the victims of the Parkland school shooting.

The transmissions help us understand what they did and where they went during their response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

The first time we hear Coral Springs police over the radio is when an officer contacts dispatch asking if there's a shooting.

"Go by make reference to an active shooter at Douglas. Anything to that," a Coral Springs Officer is heard asking dispatch.

Dispatch responds with,"10-4- K23 -- we are, there is an active shooter working at Douglas. Multiple gunshots are being fired. We can hear them in the background. Our 911 lines are blowing up."

Emergency calls flooded Coral Springs dispatch less than a minute after the shooter entered the school.

Coral Springs Fire Rescue activated within seconds. BSO also dispatched. Coral Springs Police were there as backup.  In the radio transmissions, you hear when a Coral Springs Officer meets with Scot Peterson.

"I'm with Douglas SRO getting info," the officer is heard telling dispatch.

BSO deputies are heard talking about locking down the school and shutting down the area. This as Coral Springs Police is positioning to enter building 12.

"Do you hear any gunshots," a Coral Springs officer is heard asking.

According to records BSO released, school security cameras capture 4 Coral Springs Officers and 2 BSO deputies entering the building, not knowing if the shooting had stopped.

"We got gunshots holes either coming into or coming out of that building on the Westside. Third floor," a Coral Springs Officer is heard saying.

Documents released Friday, emergency response reports, from Coral Springs Police give an even deeper look at what the officers saw.


The emergency response reports detail disturbing narratives on the carnage inside the freshman or 1200 building where the rampage unfolded in a little more than five minutes just as the class day was ending.

"Upon arrival, I parked my patrol vehicle on Holmberg Rd. on the north side of the 1200 building. I deployed with my department issued patrol rifle and ran toward the 1200 building through an open gate on the north side of the school adjacent to Holberg Rd," wrote one officer.

Once he was on the west side of the building, he wrote, "I observed a male deceased lying on the ground next to the west side entry doors. I also observed what appeared to be bullet holes through the third-floor glass window. We made entry through the first floor west side doors and saw another C.S.P.D. officers entering the building through the east side. We took the task of clearing the stairwell which led to the second floor and once on the second floor, we proceeded in an attempt to locate the shooting suspect. All classroom doors on the second floor were locked so entry was made into several of the classrooms to check for any injured. I assisted in leading several students and faculty toward the west side of the building for evacuation."



Another officer says he helped in the search for the suspect.

"Upon my arrival, I held a perimeter location on the west side of the school until I was tasked with tracking with Margate K-9 along the south canal bank. Once the suspect was in custody, I assisted with crowd control and scene security at the intersection of Holbert Road/Pine Island Road."  This officer was also at the hotel where family members were reuniting with their children, and sadly, where some of those reunions never took place. "After that assistance, I was tasked with heading to the Heron Bay Marriott. Once there, I maintained security for the room that had students and family inside. After a few hours, this room held those families that had not heard from their child."

Many of the emergency response reports detailed officers work with clearing the school, searching for the suspect in the surrounding areas, including a McDonald's and Walmart, crowd control, scene security, perimeter setups and media staging.

It's already been reported that as the gunman terrorized students and staff, officers from BSO and Coral Springs outside were having difficulty sharing crucial information with each other because their radios didn't communicate with each other.

A timeline released Thursday by the Broward County Sheriff's Office details officers' inability to communicate with each other and confusion as they tried to locate the shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

Officers with the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the Coral Springs Police Department were unable to communicate with each other when attempts to merge radio traffic from the two agencies into a common radio channel failed, according to the sheriff's office.

This delayed the exchange of vital information between the agencies, like a description of Cruz and the weapon he was using.

"White male with ROTC uniform burgundy shirt," a Coral Springs police officer said over radio. "Last seen in the three-story building (12), north parking lot."

But at the same moment, a deputy with the sheriff's office was asking for information on the shooter's location. Another officer responded, "We don't know, but we're heading in the building, in front of the 13 building, building 13."

Seconds later, a sheriff's deputy said one victim reported the shooter was carrying "an AR15 or AK47." A minute later, a Coral Springs officer asks for any information about the weapon used in the shooting.

The sheriff's office uses the radio system maintained by Broward County, the timeline said, which is "nearing its end of life," a statement released alongside the timeline said, and the system "can become impaired when an excessive number of users access the system."

At some points, users may have been unable to transmit or receive any messages at all, the statement added.

School resource officer Scot Peterson, who officials say waited outside the school building as the shooting unfolded, initially oversaw his colleagues' response to the shooting.

In the first 10 minutes after gunfire erupted, Peterson ordered officers to shut down the street intersection in front of the school, began a lockdown and alerted officers of the location of possible gunfire.

"For the initial stages of the event, Peterson is the eyes on the ground so it's appropriate for him to relay that information and direct responding personnel," according to Col. Jack Dale.

He may have slowed down the response by ordering officers to stay at least 500 feet away from the building, according to the audio recordings.

The agency's active shooter policy calls for deputies to interrupt the shooting and search for victims when there's a ceasefire.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel had said Peterson should have gone inside the building and killed the gunman.

Peterson's attorney has said he did not enter the school because he believed the shooting was coming from outside the school buildings.

But the updated timeline and dispatch audio contradicts that assertion.

At 2:25 p.m., or about four minutes into the shooting, a deputy says over the radio "some students thought it was firecrackers, but we're not sure, by the football fields."

Peterson responds "We also heard it's by, inside the 1200 building."

"That contradicts the statement his attorney gave, that he didn't know where the shots were fired. After multiple gun shots you would have to know where the shots were coming from," said the head of the Broward County Sheriff's Deputies Association Jeff Bell.

Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

Broward County Sheriff's supervisor Capt. Jan Jordan arrived later to oversee the operation.

"I know there is a lot going on. Do we have a perimeter set up right now and everybody cleared out of school?" Jordan asked on the police radio.

"That's a negative," a dispatcher replied.


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