BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Everyone involved in handling the deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last January wants to make sure they do whatever is necessary from a security perspective to make sure something like that never happens again.
On Monday, CBS4 got a first look at how the Broward Sheriff’s Office feels they handled the situation and what can be done differently going forward.
BSO released a 99-page draft report that took a hard look at how BSO handled the deadly shooting at FLL, and the aftermath that led to panic and hysteria on behalf of travelers, airport employees and TSA officers, among others.
The report complimented the deputy who quickly apprehended accused shooter Esteban Santiago after five people were killed and another six were wounded.
But 90 minutes later, chaos ensued when an officer reported hearing gunfire elsewhere at the airport – gunfire that apparently didn’t happen.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
A massive amount of law enforcement descended on the airport, some who deployed on their own.
“The large number of responding law enforcement officers created an impassible ‘parking lot’ of vehicles, creating obstacles…”
Some “plain-clothes officers… cover their faces, (with guns drawn) raising the potential for blue-on-blue deaths and the potential to cause further trauma to fearful victims.”
And there were other problems, like a failed radio communications systems which led to delays and miscommunication.
“The act of turning on a thousand radios and switching channels ‘crashed’ the 30-year-old radio system several times.”
And “travelers stranded on Tarmac for up to 10 hours were not provided with basic necessities such as water, food, or shelter.”
BSO faulted its handling of the immediate aftermath of the shooting, saying its crime scene was not large enough and not properly secured.
The report states “witnesses were held in an area which had direct view of victims. This prevented proper crime scene management and further traumatized the witnesses and victims.”
BSO criticized the county’s aviation department on several fronts.
BSO said the aviation department didn’t properly shut down Terminal 2 where the shooting took place, they didn’t understand its role in supporting BSO or prepare for an event of this magnitude.
The report also says “BCAD denied SWAT Teams access to FLL Terminal Blueprints” to do security sweeps…
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said that never happened and that the county’s aviation workers did all they could to support law enforcement.
“That request has never been given to our airport director and to his knowledge has never come up,” she said. “They work hand-in-hand 24 hours at a time with BSO and the FBI.”
One improvement BSO wants to see – more visible armed deputies at every public concourse.
They also want improved and enhanced training on these types of scenarios at the airport.
CBS4’s Carey Codd wanted to speak with Sheriff Scott Israel about the report.
A spokesperson said that this report CBS4 obtained is just a draft and that he is looking forward to seeing a final draft and will likely comment then.