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More details released on police response to Parkland massacre

Lisa J. Huriash, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Coral Springs Police Officer Tim Burton rushed to get to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High when he heard over his radio there was a gunman there.

But when he got there, he found the school's resource officer "seeking cover" behind a concrete column, he said.

The deputy "advised that I needed to watch my back," Burton wrote in his incident report.

So he took cover in the parking lot, too.

Burton's firsthand account is among the reports released by Coral Springs police on Monday. The department released a total of four pages of reports filed by three officers who responded to the Feb. 14 shooting, in which 17 people were killed and another 17 were wounded.

Burton said he held back during a "brief wait" until officers were told videotape -- which was delayed -- showed shooter Nikolas Cruz leaving the building before Burton even got there.

Burton wrote in his report that Scot Peterson, the school's resource officer, told him he hadn't heard any gunfire for a few minutes and didn't know where the shooter was.

Burton held back in the parking lot, in case Cruz was hiding there, until other officers from his department plowed inside.

Then Burton helped rescue victims, including a girl who was shot in the hip who couldn't walk so he carried her to Pine Island Road and handed her off to a deputy. He ran back and helped an officer carry away a second girl who had been shot in the knee.

Police had trouble tracking Cruz partly because officers looking at security footage didn't realize -- or didn't tell their colleagues -- that the video they were watching was delayed 20 minutes and not live. While they believed they were watching Cruz in the building, he had actually slipped away as students fled.

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