Coral Springs, FL – The Coral Springs Police Department released several detailed official reports on Tuesday, written by some of the first officers who responded to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
The reports, submitted by three different Coral Springs police officers, detailed the movements and bravery of the first team to enter the 1200 building, and answered questions about who responded, in what capacity, and when, to the one of the worst mass school shootings in U.S. history.
“Even though we did not hear gunfire, I made the decision to begin clearing the building because we still believed that the gunman was in the building, and we knew that there were multiple victims that needed rescuing,” Coral Spring Police Sergeant Nick Mazzei explained in his report.
Coral Springs Officer Bryan Wilkins detailed in his report how he got the alert about the school shooting in Parkland at 2:28 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, and responded immediately to the scene.
Officer Wilkins was one of the first officers to actually go inside the high school when he arrived.
“I arrived within two minutes. As I made a left from Pine Island Road onto Holmberg Road, I saw approximately four Broward County Sheriff's Office vehicles parked in the west bound lane with their personnel taking up exterior positions behind their vehicles," he wrote in his report.
"I drove up just west of the campus building 1200, exited my vehicle, grabbed my AR-15 rifle and donned on my tactical/medical gear. As I was advancing on foot through the chain-link fence, I was advised by an unknown BSO Deputy taking cover behind a tree, 'he is on the third floor,'" Officer Wilkins reported.
Sgt. Mazzei’s recollection of events was very similar to that of Officer Wilkins, except the sergeant learned the shooter was in the three-story building on the north side of campus while he was still en route to the high school.
Both accounts bolstered prior assertions that Broward County deputies staged and set up a perimeter in the crucial first moments after the shooting rather than rushing directly into buildings, as was the policy of their sheriff’s department.
“As I turned westbound on Holmberg Rd from Coral Springs Dr., I passed several BSO deputies who were taking positions along Holmberg Rd,” Sgt. Mazzei wrote in his official report of the incident.
“I proceeded into the north main gate near the student parking lot, exited my vehicle with my rifle and proceeded to run towards the three story building (1200) with several other CSPD officers,” he wrote.
Sgt. Mazzei described passing dead bodies along their route to the freshman building where the killing spree had occurred.
“At that point, there were several other officers with me and we made entry into the building through the west doors,” he detailed.
“This team consisted of Det. Monzon, Sgt. Weising, Ofc. Dintlman, Ofc. Wilkins, Ofc. P. Murray, Sgt. Myers, an unknown BSO uniformed deputy and myself,” Sgt. Mazzei reported.
He described going through the building through smoke-filled air, down hallways littered with spent casings and bodies.
“Moving on, the east side doors of the 1200 building opened and there was another law enforcement team from CSPD preparing to make entry. Because of potential crossfire, I communicated to the other team that my team would proceed to the second floor and they would finish the first floor,” Sgt. Mazzei wrote in his official report.
He said more Coral Springs officers joined the group that was clearing the second floor.
“Halfway through clearing the second floor, BSO SWAT arrived and assisted with the clearing,” the sergeant wrote.
A police report submitted by Coral Springs Sergeant Scott Myers showed the confusion that was caused amongst responding law enforcement when dispatchers told officers that they were watching the gunman live on surveillance video, and began reporting his movements to officers at the scene.
First, the dispatcher told officers the shooter was preparing to exit the east stairwell on the second floor, and the officers immediately responded.
“Our team pressed out of the West stairwell and began moving down the corridor towards the suspect. We were then advised the suspect was exiting the stairwell. We prepared to engage the shooter on the second floor,” Officer Myers wrote in his detailed report.
“After several moments we were advised the cctv was not live and that an unknown delay existed. We were later informed that the suspect was seen exiting the building via cctv. Our team transitioned to a rescue team, and we evacuated every classroom on the second floor,” he wrote.