Two officers from the Coral Springs Police Department recounted their courageous actions on Feb. 14 during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with one calling the scene "was bad as you can imagine — times 10."
"I have a 2-year-old. I don't want to send him to school," Officer Chris Crawford told reporters.
Crawford and Sgt. Jeff Heinrich spoke at a news conference on Friday. Crawford is a Marine veteran, works in Coral Springs, one town from Parkland, where the shooting took place.
In the emotional video, Crawford described his trip from his normal patrol route to Stoneman Douglas after receiving an alert, and how he jumped into the fray by helping wounded students as they stumbled out onto the lawn. He applied a special tactical gauze to bullet wounds, which contained a clotting agent to help stop the bleeding. He also helped direct other officers and emergency responders to be efficient in their treatment of the emergency.
At that point, Crawford and several other officers joined in on the manhunt for the shooter. They helped corral students into a secure room and keep them relatively calm as the campus was cleared.
After telling his story, Crawford took questions from the assembled reporters. One asked him what it meant to him to have saved a life with his emergency medical treatment.
"To me, what bothers me is I wish I had gotten there sooner, and I could have stopped this," he said. "I helped one kid, or two kids. I wish I could have helped them all."
Sgt. Heinrich previously shared his story with PEOPLE, just a few days after the shooting. He explained that he was off duty, and was at Stoneman Douglas High on the day of the shooting to water the baseball field as part of his duties as a baseball coach. He heard popping sounds from the direction of the parking lot, but didn't immediately recognize it as gunfire.
“I thought it was fireworks and kids messing around at first,” Heinrich said. When he saw students rushing out, he finally registered the sound and ran toward the building. Heinrich's son is a student at the school, while his wife is a teacher. Thankfully, they survived the ordeal, secured in a locked classroom for the duration of the shooting.
Like Crawford, Heinrich began by helping wounded children staggering out of the school.
“I got to the parking lot and a kid was coming out of the school screaming he was shot,” he recalled. “He was bleeding pretty good. It was a pretty nasty gunshot wound.”
He had no badge or gun on him because he was off-duty, though when his fellow officers arrived, they provided him with a vest and a weapon.
“There is nothing to prepare yourself for this but you have to resort back to your training and it kicks in and overpowers your first thought process,” he said. “It is the most horrific event you could possibly deal with as a human being.”0comments
The heroic accounts of Crawford and Heinrich come as the Broward County Sheriff's office battles rumors that as many as four deputies waited outside of the school during the shooting when they should have sprang into action. Already, the school's resource officer, Scot Peterson, has resigned under pressure after security footage reportedly showed him standing outside for a total of four minutes while gunshots rang out in the school.
On Saturday, the sheriff's office published an open letter, correcting some information circulating in the press and reminding readers that the claims of deputies avoiding the scene of the crime is still under investigation. Sources in the Coral Springs Police Department told The Sun Sentinel that they saw Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies outside.