Puzzling info emerges on Parkland shooting: Security video on ‘delay’; 4 deputies waited to enter?

Puzzling info emerges on Parkland shooting: Security video on ‘delay’; 4 deputies waited to enter?
Sheriff Israel lays down the law at CNN's town hall broadcast. (Image: Screen grab of CNN video, YouTube)

In the last 24 hours, two new pieces of information have been reported on the 14 February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s hard to know what to make of either of them. But at some point, we must assume the bereaved families are going to demand answers.

There’s an important feature of this massacre that may eventually shed some light on things that are raising questions in the immediate aftermath.  The killer is alive, and could stand trial.  His attorney has reportedly been seeking a plea deal that would take the death penalty off the table, but prosecutors are said to still be deliberating that.

We need not be either bloodthirsty or ghoulish to want a trial in this case.  New pieces of information seem to indicate there are significant questions that need answering. And unless there’s a trial, there’s a good chance that they’ll never be sorted out for the public.

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One of the things learned late on Thursday is that the security camera system seemed to be set on a delay at the high school.  According to the Sun-Sentinel, the delay was an astounding 20 minutes.  In other words, the video display on the monitors was delayed from real time by 20 minutes.

It’s hard to even process that.  I know readers will have the same reaction I did; i.e., “Can I possibly be reading this in a mainstream media publication, with quotes from law enforcement?”

How does this happen?  It’s apparently real, and as you would expect, it had an impact on the law enforcement response.

Nearly a half-hour after Nikolas Cruz dropped his rifle and fled Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police thought they were seeing him live on security cameras, still in the building. They were actually seeing images tape-delayed.

The Broward School District’s security cameras did not show real-time video for police, complicating their efforts to track and pin down the shooter, the South Florida Sun Sentinel has learned.

Just so we’re clear:

The video images were “delayed 20 minutes and nobody told us that,” said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi.

Compounding the problem, it took police precious additional moments just to get to the video monitors for the security cameras.  The shooting started about 2:21 PM local on 14 February, and at 2:43, responding police were still looking for someone to provide access for them to the security video monitors.

“We need somebody with the camera systems ASAP,” an officer stated at 2:43 p.m., about 15 minutes after the shooting stopped, according to the sheriff’s timeline. “Where’s the principal? Who’s with the principal? And we need to start making a plan here.”

Apparently, they were hoping to find the sheriff’s deputy, Scot Peterson, who we now know waited outside the school after the shooting started.  The Sun-Sentinel seems to indicate that Peterson may have been outside a different building.

But speaking of sheriff’s deputies, that’s the second new piece of information.  We knew about Deputy Peterson waiting outside during the massacre.  On Friday, CNN reported that he wasn’t the only one.  Three additional Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the high school and proceeded to wait outside of it after they got there.

The Coral Springs Police, who arrived later than the sheriff’s officers, were apparently the first ones to enter the school.

With direction from the Broward deputies who were outside, Coral Springs police soon entered the building where the shooter was. New Broward County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, and two of those deputies and an officer from Sunrise, Florida, joined the Coral Springs police as they went into the building.

Some Coral Springs police were stunned and upset that the four original Broward County Sheriff’s deputies who were first on the scene did not appear to join them as they entered the school, Coral Springs sources tell CNN. It’s unclear whether the shooter was still in the building when they arrived.

We can take the characterization of the police complaints with a grain of salt for the moment.  The full timeline of the incident is still being sorted out.  But the city manager seems to have thought the deputies’ behavior warranted concern:

The resentment among Coral Springs officials toward Broward County officials about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty may have reached a boiling point at a vigil the night of February 15, where, in front of dozens of others, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A source familiar with the conversation tells CNN that Goodrum was upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons.

Ben Shapiro pointed out that this butt-chewing took place days before the CNN town hall broadcast in which Sheriff Israel castigated NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch for “not standing up for” the high school victims and their families.

Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum apparently chewed out Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over that malfeasance on February 15 — more than a week ago. Which means that Israel knew full well that his own office had botched everything dramatically when he stood on stage with CNN’s Jake Tapper and a crowd of angry parents and community members and blamed the National Rifle Association and Dana Loesch for his own horrible failure.

I’ll hold off passing judgment on where the horrible failures lie until it appears we have a complete idea of what happened.  But the emerging data points are hard to account for, at the very least.

If we never get that full, good-faith accounting for them — if we just keep getting a stone wall of silence from the authorities as we have with the Las Vegas massacre last October — that will be a horrible failure.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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