The Broward County Sheriff's Office released a lengthy statement on Saturday with information on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. Thestatement confirmed that the department had 23 documented encounters with confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz before his rampage that killed 17 at the Parkland, Florida school.
The message was intended to correct or refute information that's been circulating as the investigation into the shooting proceeds. The sheriff's office asked for time and patience as they go over all of the evidence meticulously. They addressed the reports that Cruz was well known in the community for violent outbursts, including some with firearms.
"Since 2008, BSO [Broward County Sheriff's Office] responded to 23 incidents where previous contact was made with the killer or his family. STOP REPORTING 39; IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE. It was determined after a preliminary review there were no arrestable offenses."
Major news outlets, including CNN, have been reporting that Cruz clashed with police over 30 times, citing police documents as sources. The sheriff's office's letter went on to describe how the investigation is moving forward.
"Two of those cases are under further review in Internal Affairs," the office said.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, a long trail of indications that he might be dangerous began to surface, implicating accountability from the local police to the FBI. The bureau received a call about Cruz's personal arsenal and violent nature just six weeks before he took his legally purchase AR-15 assault rifle to his former high school.
Several of Cruz's former classmates have told reporters about various incidents that were reported to the school. These include racial epithets, fights, online threats and even one attempted stabbing. There's no word from the school on how these reports were handled and whether Cruz was punished for them specifically. He was expelled in the spring of 2017, though there's no official cause as to why.
The sheriff's office expressed concern with claims that deputies stood outside of Stoneman Douglas High while students were killed inside. Sources in the neighboring Coral Springs Police Department, which also responded to the shooting, told the Sun-Sentinel that at least three Broward County Deputies remained outside Building 12 during the shooting. The letter states that the sheriff's office is investigating these claims, though it begs news outlets to stop reporting it as fact.
Broward Deputy Scot Peterson, the officer assigned to guard the school, resigned after security footage showed him standing outside for about four minutes while students were shot inside. The department is investigating his case despite his resignation.