Coral Springs fire rescue asked six times to send specialized paramedics and police officers into Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas school during a mass shooting in February that left 17 people dead, and was repeatedly turned down.
According to a report by Michael McNally, deputy chief for Coral Springs fire rescue, filed after the Feb. 14 attack, the Broward Sheriff’s Office captain in charge of the scene, Jan Jordan, denied his requests.
It isn’t clear whether the paramedics, who arrived at the high school within minutes of the shooting, could have saved lives. SWAT medics went in instead, though it’s unknown exactly how many or when.
McNally wrote in his report that the sheriff’s office offered the same response after each request, that she “would have to check before approving this request.”
According to a report by the New York Times, responses to the February shooting suffered from a medley of shortcomings. A deputy assigned to the school declined to enter the building during the shooting, the Broward County and Coral Springs police officers couldn’t communicate because their radios were on separate systems, and officers reviewing surveillance video to locate the shooter did not immediately realize it was on a 20-minute delay.
The report submitted by McNally details his interactions with law enforcement agencies outside the school. The Times goes on to state that after McNally arrived at the school, he offered four times to send in paramedics while police went through the security footage to find the gunman, who was later identified as former student Nikolas Cruz.
He offered two more times after police discovered the video delay, and was again told to wait.
“Once again, the incident commander advised, ‘She would have to check and let me know,'” he wrote in the report.
The Miami Herald reports that McNally’s teams were denied entry because authorities weren’t aware of the shooter’s whereabouts and didn’t want to put the paramedics in danger. Cruz had actually fled the building six minutes after opening fire, though this wasn’t immediately discovered due to the delay in the security footage.
Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said in an email to the Herald that medics are only sent in “after it has been confirmed that the threat is mitigated.”