Report: Four Sheriff’s Deputies Stood Outside During Florida School Shooting

The main gate to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School / Getty Images


Coral Springs police officers say they found four Broward County Sheriff's deputies standing outside the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a shooting was underway.

Sources from Coral Springs told CNN that the deputies had their guns drawn while they were behind their vehicles, and none of them had entered the school. The Coral Springs officers did enter the building, joined by other Broward County officers who had arrived on the scene, and some of the Coral Springs police were upset the first officers at the scene stayed outside.

A report is set to be released next week detailing what the Coral Springs officers observed. Information on the entire incident is also under review, including tapes that may verify or contradict officers’ recollections of the incident.

At a vigil on February 15, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel about the Broward sheriff’s deputies’ actions, according to a CNN source. Goodrum was reportedly upset about officers remaining outside while injured children were inside and could have been bleeding to death, and Goodrum made a statement about the incident.

"Given the horrific events of that day emotions were running high and the sheriff and I had a heated moment the following evening," Goodrum said. "Sheriff Israel and I have spoken several times since and I can assure you that our departments have a good working relationship and the utmost respect for each other."

The armed school resource officer at the school was Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, who was one of the four officers who stayed outside. Peterson has retired after being suspended without pay.

President Donald Trump called Peterson a "coward," and Israel criticized his deputy for not acting. At a news conference Thursday, he said video showed Peterson outside the building for more than four minutes while students were being shot.

"What I saw was a deputy arrive…take up a position, and he never went in," Israel said.

Israel was direct when he said what Peterson should have done.

"Went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer," Israel said.

Israel, however, defended his department’s actions in a CNN town hall Wednesday. He has criticized the NRA and called for more gun control to prevent future attacks.

Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie said Peterson’s actions are "unbelievable."

"I'm in shock and I'm outraged to no end that he could have made a difference in all this," Runcie said. "It's really disturbing that we had a law enforcement individual there specifically for this reason, and he did not engage. He did not do his job. It's one of the most unbelievable things I've ever heard."

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

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