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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The lead detective on the Parkland shooting, John Curcio, sat down with investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at the Broward Sheriff Office Public Safety Building one morning last August.
FDLE wanted to speak about disgraced former Broward Sheriff’s School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who failed to go into the freshman building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as shots rang out inside last February 14.
In the statement that was released this week by the Broward State Attorney’s Office, Curcio told investigators a lot — including that Peterson’s initial story was full of holes.
Curcio recounted that he spoke with Peterson on February 16, prior to being able to review surveillance video from the school. In the statement, Peterson said that he only heard two or three gunshots that day and that he didn’t know where the shots were coming from. But once BSO got its hands on the surveillance video from the school a few days later Curcio said he learned that “There is almost on every detail that (Peterson) gave in the statement, inaccuracies.”
For instance, on Peterson’s first radio transmission from the shooting less than 2 minutes after it began, Peterson identified possible gunshots and their location.
“Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers, I think we have shots fired,” Peterson said over the BSO radio. “Possible shots fired. 1200 building.”
A video animation shows Peterson arriving at the east end of the Freshman Building seconds before the confessed shooter, Nikolas Cruz, murdered campus monitor Aaron Feis on the west end of the first floor. This was before Cruz made it to the 3rd floor, where he murdered 6 other people.
Peterson retreated from the door of the Freshman Building to the building to the south and stayed there for 48 minutes. Curcio told investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the law enforcement response to the shooting, that the rounds being fired were loud, that people were screaming in the building and that the shooter fired shots out of the second floor that landed about 70 feet from Peterson.
“The two or three shots that he claims he heard were actually over seventy shots going off inside the building,” Curcio said, adding “…I’m not saying anyone’s lying just unreasonable in my opinion to believe he didn’t know where those shots were coming from.”
Months after the shooting Peterson stuck with his initial story during a televised interview.
“Why aren’t you going inside?” he was asked.
“Because I didn’t know if it was inside,” Peterson replied.
“Why not check it out?” the journalist asked.
“What I was trained is you contain the area,” Peterson said.
We spoke with Fred Guttenberg recently. His daughter Jaime was shot and killed on the 3rd floor of the building.
“I’ll never forgive him,” Guttenberg said. “She was second to last to be shot. If you see how close she was to the stairwell, one more second and she’s in the stairwell and she’s alive. She needed one more second. My kid needed one more second. And Peterson didn’t give her that second.”
The commission investigating the school shooting determined that Peterson was “derelict in his duty” and provided bad information to responding deputies that hindered the law enforcement response.
In his statement Curcio said Peterson, who later resigned from BSO and is being sued over his actions that day, could have saved lives on February 14.
“Every moment you’re in that building distracting the shooter, kids are finding cover. Every moment you distract the shooter, he’s not shooting kids,” Curcio said.
“He’s a school resource officer. He certainly knew what he was supposed to do. And that’s my opinion.”