Sheriff's Office Responds to Claims Multiple Deputies Stayed Outside School During Shooting

The Broward County Sheriff's Office posted a letter containing updates on the investigation into the shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, including the claim that local deputies didn't enter the school when they were supposed to.

The news originated with The Sun Sentinel. Sources in the Coral Springs Police Department, which responded to the shooting as well, reported that Broward County Sheriff's Office Deputies hung back during the shooting, and hesitated to enter the building. Inside, 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz took 17 lives and injured 16 people with an AR-15 assault rifle.

Sheriff Scott Israel's office posted a letter on Twitter Saturday addressing many of the biggest questions in the case, including whether his deputies stayed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"BSO detectives are investigating the claim from the Coral Springs Police Department that some deputies did not go into the school when they should have. Stop reporting it as a fact. There is no confirmation, at this time, other deputies did not enter the school when they should have. Again, it's a claim being investigated to determine if further action is warranted," the letter read.

Scot Peterson, the deputy assigned to guard Stoneman Douglas High, resigned after security footage reportedly showed him standing outside the school for four minutes while Nikolas Cruz killed 17 and injured 14 others.

According to the Sun Sentinel's report, two more deputies are being investigated over whether they ignored or mishandled red flags about the danger Cruz posed to the community. The outlet's sources in the Coral Springs Police Department say that two other cops waited outside the school rather than put themselves in danger. Sheriff Israel of Broward County made it clear on Saturday that his office won't rush any of their investigations to satisfy public curiosity.

"There are multiple investigations being conducted in addition to the Stoneman Douglas Shooting," the letter says. "Investigators will not be rushed or asked to jump to conclusions. Their investigations are thorough and methodical as they take and compare witness statements, review dozens of incident reports, transcribe and analysis [sic] numerous radio transmissions, listen to more than 80 911 calls, review and review again many angles of surveillance video and approve public records requests for investigative redactions."

"It is more important for us to wait and help investigators get it right, even if some media outlets are getting it wrong," the letter said.


The other corrections in the writing include the number of previous incidents involving police and Cruz before the shooting, which the Sheriff's office says is 23 and not 39, as some outlets have reported.

Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell demanded a conclusive investigation on the deputies. If proven true, "it not only makes me angry, it makes me furious," he said.