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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – There is a lot of anger being directed at former Broward Sheriff deputy and School Resource Officer Scot Peterson after it became known that he waited outside a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building while a gunman was shooting at students and teachers.
It now appears that Peterson may not have been the only person who was expected to act, and didn’t.
Sources familiar with the events surrounding the school shooting tell CBS4 that Coral Springs police officers now contend that when they arrived within minutes of the initial call, it wasn’t just Peterson that was waiting outside the building.
Also allegedly taking a defensive position outside the school, according to sources, were three other BSO deputies.
Despite BSO’s inaction, Coral Springs officers contend they made the immediate decision to enter the building and not wait for BSO, per sources.
A spokeswoman for BSO and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel have confirmed to CBS4 that they are investigating whether any Broward Sheriff deputies waited outside while children were being shot inside the school.
Israel previously tried to dismiss the questions of who entered the building first by saying that when Coral Springs officers went inside, the shooter had already fled.
However, one senior law enforcement source told CBS4’s Jim DeFede that at the time BSO deputies were allegedly waiting outside the school, they had no idea whether the shooter was still inside.
And even if the shooter had fled, there were grievously wounded children inside the school that needed help.
“There was no time to wait, they needed to go into the school,” the law enforcement source told DeFede.
As more than a dozen Coral Springs officers flooded into the building, they were joined by two other BSO deputies who subsequently arrived on the scene, as well as an officer from another jurisdiction.
The questions regarding the response form law enforcement has taken a tragic case and made it ugly.
According to DeFede, it’s very possible and even likely that the contention that BSO deputies failed to immediately enter the school would not have become an internal disagreement had Israel not been so public about praising his deputies while ignoring the efforts of other agencies, like Coral Springs Police.
There were over 100 members of the Coral Springs Police Department on scene and it was the officers from Coral Springs that did not hesitate to enter the building where the shooting was taking place.
Coral Springs officials were so angered by Israel’s public comments, and lack of credit to Coral Springs PD, that a Coral Springs City Manager confronted Israel and told him to “stop lying,” according to DeFede.
It also prompted Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi to write an email to all Coral Springs city employees lamenting how Coral Springs was being treated. Pustizzi wrote: “I understand that another agency has given the impression that it had provided the majority of the rescue efforts, and that the tremendous work of the Coral Springs Police and Fire Departments has not been recognized. Please know that this issue will be addressed, and the truth will come out in time.”
On Friday, both the Coral Springs city manager and the police chief met with Sheriff Israel in an effort to address some of the concerns.
Nevertheless, the latest revelations, coupled with reports that BSO may have mishandled tips about the shooter Nikolas Cruz, are focusing unwanted attention on Sheriff Israel.
On CNN Saturday morning, state Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) said: “The Sheriff in Broward had time to come on your town hall and pontificate about [gun control] issues, but it wasn’t until after that, that he told us the people who work for him didn’t do their jobs.”