MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — Many failures and missteps are highlighted in the draft report of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission on what contributed to the mass shooting last February 14.
They are meeting again Thursday for the second and final day in Tallahassee. The commission is expected to finalize recommendations on what to do to prevent future school shootings.
The commission was tasked with investigating the mass shooting at the Parkland school, in which Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and educators.
Cruz confessed to being the gunman and carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history, according to court documents.
The commission’s recommendations will be submitted to Florida’s governor and state Legislature on January 1.
Here are some key findings in the draft:
Unlocked gates and other security failures
On the day of the shooting, the gunman arrived on campus in an Uber at about 2:19 p.m. The report said he entered “through an open and unstaffed pedestrian gate that had been opened” for afternoon dismissal.
“Cruz exploited this open and unstaffed gate and it is what allowed him initial access to the campus. This open and unstaffed gate was a security failure.”
Unlocked and opened gates were regularly not staffed for long periods on campus. The report called school administrators’ explanation of a lack of personnel as the reason “unacceptable.”
Cruz entered Building 12 — where he carried out the massacre — through an unlocked and unmanned door on the building’s east side.
Inadequate video camera coverage
Video cameras outside Building 12 were inadequate to cover the exterior and other areas of the campus, the report said.
Most school personnel were not adequately trained in operating the camera system — which the report said “adversely affected law enforcement response.”
The school district does not allow Broward County law enforcement “live, real-time access to its school camera systems.” As a result, deputies and other first responders were unable to determine whether Cruz had departed the building.
No PA system speakers in the hallways
There were no PA system speakers in the school building hallways and exterior areas, according to the report. This prevented the communication of the Code Red along with directions to students and staff.
“The lack of an effective communication system prevents building occupants from effecting an active assailant response and moving to a place of safety; this is a breach of effective school safety best practices.”
A fire alarm caused confusion among students and staff. Some evacuated when the alarm was activated while others treated it as an active shooter situation and sheltered in place.
“The lack of a called Code Red contributed to students and staff not treating this incident as an active shooter event and that put students and staff at risk because they used evacuation protocols, not active assailant response protocols.”
The lack of a formal Code Red resulted in school personnel “not knowing or clearly understanding the criteria for calling a Code
Red, who could call it, or when it could be called,” the report said.
“The lack of a called Code Red on February 14, 2018, because there was no policy, little training and no drills, left students and staff vulnerable to being shot, and some were shot because they were not notified to lockdown.”
A campus monitor called the first Code Red at 2:24 p.m. — 3 minutes and 16 seconds after Cruz fired the first shots, according to the report. While other staff members claimed to have called a Code Red there was no evidence of such calls.
School resource officer derelict in his duty
The draft report said former Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, was “derelict in his duty” and “failed to act consistent with his training and fled to a position of personal safety” during the mass shooting. The report also said that Peterson instructed deputies to stay away from the building where the shootings took place.
“Peterson was in a position to engage Cruz and mitigate further harm to others and he willfully decided not to do so,” the report said.
In addition, Peterson knew that an active shooter situation called for a Code Red response but never called one out over the school radio, the report said.
Days after the massacre, footage surfaced of Peterson taking position outside instead of entering the building where an active shooter was firing upon students and staff.
Peterson’s lawyer has said his client believed the gunshots were coming from outside the building.
Some deputies failed to confront shooter
The report said several responding Broward sheriff’s deputies were either seen on camera or described as taking time to retrieve and put on ballistic vests as well as removing and replacing other equipment while shots were still being fired in the school.
Their actions, the report said, was “unacceptable and contrary to accepted protocol under which the deputies should have immediately moved towards the gunshots to confront the shooter.” Others arrived at a road north of the school building and remained there as the gunfire continued.
Confusion over command and control location, and radio problems
There was confusion over the location of the law enforcement command post, tactical operations center and staging area immediately after the shooting, the report said.
Law enforcement and fire department command posts were separated when they should have been together.
“The lack of a clearly identified Command Post (CP) and BSO command personnel being split between the CP area and the Tactical Operations Center (TOC), impeded communication with fire department command staff,” the report said.
In addition, the report said, “Radio communication problems, including the lack of interoperability and throttling affected the tactical operations inside of Building 12, including the medical response.”
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