When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Valentine’s Day, they saw not just the officer assigned to the school but three more Broward police officers with pistols drawn but taking cover behind their cars as a gunman was inside killing 17 students and staff, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Friday, citing sources.
When those Coral Springs police entered the building, the four original Broward officers on scene did not join them, sources told CNN. It’s unclear whether the shooter was still in the building when they arrived.
One day earlier, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel held a press conference at which he acknowledged the armed deputy on duty at Stoneman Douglas High never entered the building where last week’s slayings were occurring.
Since Columbine in 1999, it has been standard protocol for authorities on site not to wait for backup or reinforcements but to engage the gunman immediately and disrupt the spray of gunfire. Instead, the deputy who was on duty at Stoneman Douglas on February 14, in uniform and armed, chose instead to stand outside the building for at least four of the six minutes it took the gunman in to dispatch 17 former classmates and school staff, a distressed Israel told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Tapper reported that video from the school campus is being reviewed and a report will be released next week. The Lead anchor said officials have cautioned that the official account could differ from officers’ initial recollections, as often happens in these high-stress situations.
CNN’s report was on air a couple hours after President Donald Trump again pitched the NRA’s proposal to arm teachers at public schools to protect students from shooters, in the wake of this country’s latest school semi-automatic weapon mass shooting.