US Police responding to Parkland shooting found confusion and death

03:45  14 april  2018
03:45  14 april  2018 Source:   Tribune News Service

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MIAMI - When Broward Sheriff's Office Deputy Gennaro Volpe heard the call come over his radio - "shots fired" at a Parkland high school - he rushed to campus.

There, Volpe was met with chilling scenes of chaos and death. A slain man, someone he knew, lying motionless outside the freshman building. Another victim, still alive, whom Volpe hustled onto a golf cart to seek medical attention.

"I spoke to (the victim), but he did not respond back," Volpe wrote in a report released Friday afternoon by BSO. "During my conversation I only gave him words of encouragement that he was going to survive."

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Using radio traffic, 911 calls and security video, it details officers' inability to communicate with each other and confusion as they tried to locate the shooter , later identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Rick Scott ordered an investigation into the response to the deadly shooting at the Parkland school.

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Volpe's report was one of nine firsthand accounts documenting BSO's response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting by Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and made public two months later. The agency has been criticized because BSO Deputy Scot Peterson, the school's resource officer, did not immediately enter the freshman building where most of Cruz's attack took place. Other BSO deputies also did not enter immediately. Ultimately, Coral Springs Police Department officers were the first to go in and begin searching for the shooter and treating victims.

Peterson's shots-fired call went out at 2:23, soon after the attack began, according to a timeline released earlier by BSO. Police did not enter the building until 2:32 p.m., five minutes after the shooting ended. Cruz was able to elude capture and was arrested more than an hour later off campus. Seventeen students and staff members died.

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Using radio traffic, 911 calls and security video, it details officers' inability to communicate with each other and confusion as they tried to locate the shooter , later identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Rick Scott ordered an investigation into the response to the deadly shooting at the Parkland school.

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The reports released Friday don't provide a comprehensive explanation for the BSO delay but they do suggest confusion played a role.

One of the first BSO deputies to arrive on campus, William Hanks, wrote that he was unsure where the shooting was taking place and took cover behind his patrol car to assess the situation. He began heading in the right direction when he saw Coral Springs officers and another BSO deputy running toward the freshman building.

Another deputy, Michael Kratz, reported that he heard four to five gunshots and took cover to locate the gunman but was unable to do so. Kratz then stopped school buses that were approaching the area to prevent them from entering.

Everyone was confused about where Cruz was. Deputies tried to get information from panicked students but they couldn't help.

One deputy reported hearing on his radio that the suspect was still inside the building and was on the move, leading him to clear the area of worried parents. (Cruz had already left campus but was being observed on surveillance cameras by deputies who didn't know the footage was on a 20-minute delay.)

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The BSO timeline noted that Peterson warned BSO deputies to stay "at least 500 feet away" from building 12, although no reports released Friday mentioned that command. Peterson's report was not among those made public.

Also adding to the confusion: Officers from Coral Springs and BSO couldn't talk to each other over the radio because the two law enforcement agencies were using different frequencies.

Coral Springs has yet to release several reports from officers who entered the building, although it did release some documents last month. The BSO deputies who went in reported carnage.

"I entered building 12 and immediately detected the odor of gun powder and observed several people lying in the hallways in pools of blood," wrote one BSO deputy.

Deputies began treating victims and locating survivors. Some had to smash windows to gain access to classrooms where students and teachers huddled in fear. BSO SWAT arrived to secure the scene.

Volpe, after helping the injured victim on the golf cart, went back to Building 12 to provide aid. The report doesn't say what happened to the man on the cart.

Afterward, he looked down to see that his arms, uniform and rifle were covered in blood.

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Parkland paramedics delayed by chaos at school, new audio recordings reveal .
When gunfire erupted at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, paramedics sped toward the school, sirens blaring. As they got closer, the magnitude of the carnage became evident. The streets were packed with police cars and ambulances, some blocking the roads. The shooter's whereabouts remained unknown, adding to the chaos and uncertainty. The Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department released audio recordings Thursday that show first responders scrambling at the scene of shooting that left 17 people dead. "This is going to be a big event," a fire department commander told a dispatcher.

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