Reports by multiple news outlets revealed Thursday that in key moments as first responding officers were looking for the active shooter in Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, a commanding officer allegedly ordered the first responders to set up a “perimeter” outside instead of ordering them to enter the building and neutralize the shooter.
The alleged reports are based on a BSO dispatch log Fox News and The Miami Herald acquired. According to the log, Capt. Jan Jordan, commander of BSO’s Parkland district, gave the order to stage and set up a perimeter.
According to various sources, responding deputies called to an active shooter scene are trained to immediately go toward the shooter. The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) policy on active shooters indicates responding officers may enter the building to preserve life without permission. That goal remains a priority until various objectives are met, such as the shooter being detained. BSO’s policy does not list setting up a perimeter as a priority.
One ranking Florida official close to the investigation told Fox News he and some of his coworkers heard claims that some of the first responders at Stoneman Douglas were stalled getting inside because of bad commands.
The reports raise fresh questions about BSO’s handling of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has stated that BSO training and nationwide active-shooter procedure call for armed officers to confront shooters immediately rather than secure a scene.
The sheriff publicly lambasted former BSO deputy Scot Peterson, who was the school resource officer, for failing to enter the building where Nikolas Cruz was gunning down students and faculty.
Israel said Peterson, who resigned last week, should have entered the building and “killed the killer.” Video footage from the school campus reportedly shows Peterson outside the building for over four minutes while Cruz shot at students inside. The shooting lasted for around six minutes.
Three other BSO deputies were reportedly outside the school, according to a report from CNN, and they also failed to enter the building and stop the shooter. In the end, Coral Spring police officers were the first to enter the building, almost four minutes after Cruz left the scene.
BSO has refused to answer queries about how the shooting was handled, citing an ongoing internal investigation, and is reportedly examining the conduct of its deputies and commanders. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, at the request of the governor, has also opened an investigation into BSO’s response to the shooting.
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