FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Persistent communication problems. Mass confusion. Incorrect information on the location of the shooter.
These are just a few of the issues highlighted in hundreds of pages of interviews with Broward Sheriff’s Office employees.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted the interviews as they investigate the law enforcement response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office released the documents late Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators asked each BSO employee about several topics — what they did in response to the shooting, whether they saw or interacted with BSO School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson and to describe BSO’s active shooter training and policy.
One of the people interviewed was BSO Parkland Captain Jan Jordan. She has since resigned from BSO.
Jordan became the focus of criticism for her response to the shooting as critics said she appeared overwhelmed.
Jordan detailed her frustration with radio problems that prevented her from communicating.
She also explained her decision to call for a perimeter rather than focusing initially on confronting the shooter.
Jordan said she was trying to set up a containment area on campus, in case the shooter was still in the school or on school grounds.
“I had no real-time active intelligence,” she told FDLE investigators, adding that responding law enforcement didn’t know “where the shooter was, how many shooters were in the building, and where they were from.”
She also addressed the discussion with Coral Springs Fire Rescue about sending paramedics into the Freshman Building to treat wounded students.
“We didn’t have a shooter in custody,” she said. “We hadn’t, uh, eliminated the threat.”
Additionally, Jordan said SWAT teams in the building had medics with them.
This problem was compounded by the fact that there was a delay on the surveillance video at the school showing the scene inside the Freshman Building. At the time, the school employees relaying what they were seeing on the video did not realize the video was delayed and that confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz had already left the building.
Other initial responding deputies also spoke to FDLE, like Deputy Arthur Perry, who heard a burst of gunfire when he arrived. “I took up a position behind a car” with another deputy, Perry told investigators, because he thought the shots were coming from the football field.
“We stayed there,” he said. “We were waiting for people to arrive.”
For deputies who did go into the Freshman Building there was confusion about whether Cruz remained in the building and about whether they would be confronting the shooter at any moment.
In fact, Cruz had left the building by the time any law enforcement entered. Officers and deputies also saw horrific carnage throughout the first and third floors of the building.
“It’s basically like a(n) apocalypse now,” Deputy Hank Juntunen told FDLE.
The FDLE investigators also scrutinized BSO’s active shooter policy, which has come under criticism for saying that deputies “may” confront an active shooter, rather than “shall” confront an active shooter. Deputy Danny Polo, who went into the Freshman Building, said
“For me, it wouldn’t matter if (the) policy said to do it or not, uh, I would do it,” he told FDLE. Polo said that as he was driving to the school “I was like I don’t wanna be here. I really don’t wanna be here. I don’t wanna go in there. I don’t wanna be in this situation. I just had a baby so it was the — probably the worst day of my my life but I went in there.”