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Parkland Deputies Told to Form Perimeter Rather Than Confront Gunman During Mass Shooting

Libby Birk

03/02/2018

A sheriff's office captain told deputies to form a perimeter instead of confronting the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting, according to documents obtained by the Miami Herald.

A partial Broward Sheriff's Office dispatch log detailed that Capt. Jan Jordan gave the order for deputies to establish a perimeter.

An earlier report on the call logs published by Fox News showed that the shooting at the Parkland school would have been over by the time Jordan gave her order.

The log may raise fresh questions about the department's handling of the mass shooting on Feb. 14, including whether police could have gone in sooner to help the wounded.

The sheriff's office did not directly dispute that Jordan issued a stand-down order, nor did the agency confirm it.

“If detectives had answers to all of the questions, then there would be no need for an investigation,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright wrote in an email to the Herald Thursday.

Despite the order to set up perimeter (even if the shooter were still active), Sheriff Scott Israel has said his office's training and nationwide active-shooter procedure call for armed law enforcement officers to confront shooters immediately rather than secure a scene. He has lambasted Deputy Scot Peterson, the school's resource officer, for not entering the school building where 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz was shooting.

Peterson resigned and has defended his actions, calling them "appropriate under the circumstances" in a statement released through his lawyer on Monday.

Peterson said he “heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on the school campus,” the release states. “BSO trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law enforcement.”

“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” according to the statement sent from the office of Fort Lauderdale attorney Joseph DiRuzzo.

President Donald Trump also branded Peterson a coward for his inactions during the Feb. 14 attack on the Parkland, Florida school.

“He’s trained his whole life… but when it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. He certainly did a poor job, there’s no question about that. That’s a case where somebody was outside, they’re trained, they didn’t react properly under pressure or they were a coward,” Trump said.

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