Amid reports that a number of police officers failed in their duty to confront a rampaging school shooter in Florida earlier this month, there were cops that day who ran toward the bloodbath at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Coral Springs Police Department officers Chris Crawford and Sgt. Jeff Heinrich recently recounted their heroics during a local news conference, describing the ‘surreal’ events of that fateful Valentine’s Day.
The incident ‘was bad as you can imagine — times 10,’ Crawford said in the aftermath of the campus shooting. ‘I have a 2-year-old. I don’t want to send him to school.’
Coral Springs Police Department officers Chris Crawford (L) and Sgt. Jeff Heinrich (R) recently recounted their heroics during a news conference
The incident ‘was bad as you can imagine — times 10,’ Crawford said in the aftermath of the campus shooting
A Marine veteran, Crawford recounted the ‘awful’ task of having to treat children suffering from gunshot wounds, adding that he wished he ‘could have saved all of them.’
Crawfors said that he stuffed ‘combat gauze,’ a medical dressing with a clotting agent, into the wounds of a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the back, and treated a young girl for a shrapnel injury.
He then entered into the school building, where students had barricaded themselves into a classroom, having to ‘negotiate with [them] to come out’ after sliding his ID badge under the door. ‘I don’t blame them,’ he added.
The shooting was carried out by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz (pictured), who admitted to the shooting less than 48 hours later
Meanwhile, Sgt. Jeff Heinrich, who was off duty when the shooting commenced, ran to Marjory Stoneman after quickly realizing his wife and son were at the school.
Arriving to the facility, Heinrich told the local broadcaster that he helped care for a wounded child before putting on a bullet proff vest.
His wife and son made it out uninjured ‘by the grace of God,’ he added.
Soon after the deadly attack ended, it was discovered that at least four Broward County Sheriff’s deputies failed to enter the Parkland, Fla., school building while a lone gunman wielding a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle massacred 17 people.
Deputy Scott Peterson was initially the only law enforcement officer present on February 14 when the rampage started, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Peterson’s actions were caught on video during the massacre, which ranks as the second-deadliest shooting ever at a U.S. public school, carried out by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz who admitted to the shooting less than 48 hours later.
‘What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position and he never went in,’ said Sheriff Israel, referring to the building on campus, popularly known as the ‘freshman building,’ where authorities said the bulk of the shooting occurred.
Scot Peterson (Pictured right) was initially the only law enforcement officer present on February 14 when the rampage started
Israel told reporters the shooting in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Parkland lasted six minutes, and that Peterson arrived at the freshman building about 90 seconds after the first shots were fired, then lingered outside for at least four minutes.
Asked what the deputy should have done, Israel replied: ‘Went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.’
Peterson has not given a reason for why he did not enter the building, Israel said.
Neither the deputy nor any representatives could immediately be reached for comment.
Israel said he would not release the video at this time and may never do so, ‘depending on the prosecution and criminal case’ against Cruz, the 19-year-old former student who is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the assault.
Authorities have said that Cruz, who was expelled from Stoneman Douglas High last year for unspecified disciplinary problems, made his getaway moments after the shooting by blending in with students fleeing the school for safety.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel (pictured) said he had decided on the basis of his findings to suspend Peterson, but the deputy resigned first
Police officers arriving on the scene from the adjacent city of Coral Springs thought the gunman was still inside as they searched the building, based on a security camera video feed that they mistakenly believed was showing them real-time images but was actually footage from 20 minutes earlier.
Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told reporters on Thursday that the confusion stemmed from human error and a ‘communication failure,’ not malfunctioning equipment.
He insisted that the mishap did not put any lives in danger.
The Broward sheriff has said Cruz, after slipping away from the school, casually spent more than an hour drifting through a Walmart store and visiting two fast-food outlets before he was spotted and arrested.
Israel said he had decided on the basis of his findings to suspend Peterson, but the deputy resigned first.
Israel said two other deputies were placed on restrictive administrative assignment, stemming from their response to numerous calls for service and reports received by the sheriff’s department pertaining to Cruz during the past 10 years.