Broward News

BSO Cops Knew Location of Parkland Shooter but Hid Anyway, New Documents Suggest

When a group of Coral Springs Police officers rushed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High this past February following reports of an active shooter, one officer says he arrived to find Broward Sheriff's deputies taking cover behind cars and a tree — despite knowing that shooter Nikolas Cruz was still inside firing on students.

"As I was advancing on foot through the chain-link fence, I was advised by an unknown BSO Deputy taking cover behind a tree, 'he is on the third floor," Coral Springs Officer Bryan Wilkins wrote in a police report.

The documents, first reported by the Miami Herald earlier today and also obtained by New Times, paint a damning portrait of BSO's actions that day. While Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has cast much of the blame on a single deputy — Stoneman Douglas High School Resource Officer Scot Peterson — the reports suggest multiple BSO deputies knew Cruz was inside the school but did not rush in to confront the shooter.

The newly disclosed documents confirm previous reports from CNN and the Herald, which suggested BSO deputies waited outside Douglas High while Cruz was inside. According to a BSO dispatch log the Herald previously obtained, BSO Capt. Jan Jordan ordered deputies to form a "perimeter" outside the school while Cruz was shooting students and teachers inside.

BSO directives say deputies who arrive on-scene must first and foremost attempt to confront an active shooter. In a February news conference castigating Peterson, Sheriff Israel said he was "sick to [his] stomach" that the school's armed guard allegedly did nothing to stop Cruz from committing a massacre.

But the new reports suggest the problems might not have stopped with Peterson. Coral Springs' Officer Wilkins wrote he received word from a fire-rescue employee at 2:28 p.m. that there was an active shooter in Parkland. After receiving confirmation over police radio that the rumor was true, Wilkins rushed to Stoneman Douglas in his cruiser "within two minutes" and arrived to see four BSO squad cars already parked outside, he says. He wrote that he saw an unspecified number of BSO deputies hiding behind their cars waiting to take action.

Wilkins then wrote that he grabbed an AR-15 rifle, strapped on a tactical vest, and exited his car. As he reached a chainlink fence, he said, he then encountered an unknown BSO deputy who told him that he believed Cruz was on the building's third floor.

Wilkins said he then linked up with CSPD Det. Gil Monzon, and the pair advanced toward the school building, where they noticed numerous bullet holes and at least one person lying on the ground outside. Wilkins said he checked for vital signs and found none.

Wilkins, Monzon, and another BSO deputy then entered the building, but Wilkins wrote that it was extremely difficult to make out what was happening inside due to "billowing smoke." Wilkins wrote that he smelled a "strong odor" of gunpowder in the air and noticed multiple bodies lying on the ground before he was advised to go outside. He began tending to other injured victims.

In separate reports, fellow CSPD Officer Scott Myers said that when he and a team of fellow cops entered the school building, they were told surveillance video showed Cruz on the second floor. Myers' group headed toward where they were told Cruz was standing and prepared to "engage" the shooter — but it turns out the footage was on a long delay and Cruz had already left the campus by then.