Commission: Broward Sheriff's Captain Was 'Dream-Like' During Parkland Shooting
Sunrise, FL – Broward Sheriff’s Office Captain Jan Jordan, the commanding officer during the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, was described as “being over her head” and in a “trance-like” state throughout the active shooter situation, the commission investigating the incident was told on Thursday.
Broward Sheriff’s Lieutenant Stephen O’Neill told investigators for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that Capt. Jordan was “ineffective” during the school shooting.
He added that she spoke with a “dream-like” tone throughout the incident, the Miami Herald reported.
Lt. O’Neill also told investigators that Capt. Jordan “was not engaged” with finding 20-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was inside the school murdering 17 students and faculty in an attack that left 17 more victims wounded.
“There are other [first responders] who described Capt. Jordan as being over her head,” commission chairman Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during the meeting.
On May 31, Coral Springs Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Michael McNally released a special report that detailed how Capt. Jordan prevented paramedics from getting to the victims inside the school.
All six times, the captain denied his request, and said she needed to get permission.
Statements included in the incident report demonstrate she did not have the authority to actually act as the incident commander on the scene of the shooting.
Chief McNally wanted to deploy Rescue Task Force (RTF) teams that consisted of three paramedics and three to four officers to try and retrieve the wounded students who lay dying inside the 1200 building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Middle School, according to the Miami Herald.
"The [BSO] incident commander advised me, 'She would have to check,’” he wrote in the incident report detailing the day of the shooting. “After several minutes, I requested once again the need to deploy RTF elements into the scene to ... initiate treatment as soon as possible. Once again, the incident commander expressed that she 'would have to check before approving this request.’”
Capt. Jordan refused to allow Coral Springs paramedics, desperate to help, into the school building even after the shooter had been arrested a mile away from the school, the Miami Herald reported.
While it cannot be definitively known if lives would have been saved by allowing the RTF teams to enter, there were 34 gunshot victims inside the freshman building who were bleeding out quickly and needed medical attention as fast as possible.
RTF teams are trained to enter an “active shooter” situation before the suspect has been neutralized, by working in a team with law enforcement officers, the Miami Herald reported.
Instead of sending extra paramedics into the scene, police brought injured victims to a medical staging area hastily assembled nearby.
Chief McNally, in his report, claimed the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) command post was “severely dysfunctional,” the Miami Herald reported.
"The command post was inundated with too many people and made it impossible to establish and function," Chief McNally wrote.
By the time Capt. Jordan deemed the school building safe for medics to enter, they were no longer needed – all of the victims had either been evacuated by police, or they were dead, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Capt. Jordan, a 20-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, was overseeing the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Civil Division prior to being placed in command of the Parkland district on Apr. 29, 2017.
Parkland city officials demanded that the captain be replaced in the wake of the school massacre, and she was transferred to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Administration in June, agency spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright told the Sun Sentinel in August.