SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of pages of reports released by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission Wednesday offers a detailed and disturbing look at what was going on in the mind of confessed killer Nikolas Cruz in the weeks and months before the shooting.
It also details the actions of law enforcement from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Coral Springs Police Department as they responded to the mass shooting on February 14.
A 600-page report revealed surveillance images from inside the Freshman Building as confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz took aim at defenseless students and teachers.
The Commission also released video of Cruz entering a stairwell at the school where he pulled out his rifle and warned a student that something bad was about to happen.
The Commission dissected what unfolded during the more than 6 minute attack and the aftermath as Broward Sheriff’s Deputies and Coral Springs Police officers cleared the building and carried victims to paramedics.
In the report we learn more about the chaos on the 3rd of the building as students and teachers started to evacuate for a fire alarm, not knowing there was an active shooter in the building.
Then they quickly returned to the 3rd floor. The report says that a teacher on the 3rd floor accidentally locked his keys in his room, preventing him from getting back inside. That left several of the victims in the hallway, unable to access the classroom or a locked bathroom across the hall.
A picture shows the teacher giving directions to other students to flee down a stairwell to safety.
Other images show bullet holes left by Cruz in a window as he apparently tried to shoot down on fleeing students below.
Minutes after the violence began, surveillance pictures show Cruz leaving the campus as law enforcement arrived. He went to Walmart, then to McDonald’s where he shared a booth with a young man whose sister was wounded in the attack.
The MSD Commission lobbed criticism at some deputies with BSO for their response, saying some did not respond directly to the gunshots and many had not received active shooter training for several years.
A Coral Springs officer said a BSO deputy who took up a position near a tree told him, “we all can’t stand behind this tree, we’re gonna get shot.”
The report says Parkland Commander Jan Jordan “later joined him behind the car.”
However, the report does say that “many other deputies responded in the proper manner by running to the scene, seeking out the shooter and providing first aid.”
The report also pays close attention to the actions of BSO School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who responded near the Freshman Building but never went in to confront Cruz. He gave orders to arriving deputies to close roads, lock down the school and stay away from the Freshman Building.
The Commission report quotes people who spoke to Peterson saying he seemed stressed and that well after the shooting he muttered that he couldn’t believe what was happening.
He received heavy criticism from Commission members and victim’s parents on Wednesday.
“If he’d been a real cop, he’d have run in there with that gun,” said Commission Member Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff. “Let’s don’t live under the illusion that he’s a real cop because he’s not.”
“He hid out,” said Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father. “He lied about it. My daughter would be alive today if Scot Peterson had done some semblance of his job.”
The Commission also revealed new disturbing details about Nikolas Cruz’s life in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting.
They investigated his cellphone contents and internet search history.
It showed his interest in Columbine and school shootings and it showed his interest in thinking of ways to kill people — possibly at a basketball court. It also shows that less than 2 weeks before the shooting he took a screen grab of the Stoneman Douglas schedule.
He also made a search two days before the shooting asks for “how long it takes for a cop to show up at a school shooting.”
Minutes before Cruz entered the school and pulled out his rifle, he was texting with a friend and even sending texts to his ex-girlfriend about how he loved her.
Finally, the commission dug into information from school employees that Cruz was a known threat.
Specifically, that an assistant principal at the school mentioned the “potential for Cruz to be a school shooter” and joking “that Cruz would likely come for the Assistant Principal Morford first because Morford frequently had issues with Cruz.”
Commission member Max Schachter, whose son Alex died in the shooting, said Morford is still employed at the school and previously denied being told information that Cruz was a threat.
“Morford knew what a threat he was. He had been warned about him,” Schachter said. “He’s still there protecting our children. And if he is not telling the truth that needs to be uncovered and he needs to be removed immediately.”
The parkland families say they wanted the Broward School Board to do an investigation into the district’s security policies and procedures right after this happened and suspend the people in charge at Stoneman Douglas. However, that didn’t happen.
Months after the shooting the MSD Commission asked the school board to hold off on doing an investigation.
“Our concern is that they’re still there,” said Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina died in the shooting. “They haven’t been removed and we haven’t seen an investigation from the school board.”
The commission meets again Thursday and it promises to be a newsworthy day.
Not only is former School Resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson expected to sit before the commission but Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel are also expected to testify.