A portion of the 911 calls and first responders’ radio traffic recorded during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last month has been released to the public. (March 8) AP
Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.(Photo: Joel Auerbach, AP)
The lawyer who filed notice of a lawsuit on behalf of a student shot five times in the massacre at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School says he expects to be filing legal papers for more families of victims soon.
Lawyer Alex Arreaza told USA TODAY that evidence increasingly reveals mistakes by the Broward County Sheriff's Office and school district leading up to the Feb. 14 rampage that killed 17 people. Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at the Parkland school, has admitted to the shootings, authorities say.
"They failed those kids completely, right from the beginning," Arreaza said. "This kid Cruz was a time bomb looking to explode. They had ample warning to file restraining orders" or take other actions.
Broward authorities last week released a timeline of the shooting indicating school resource officer Scot Peterson lingered outside the building while Cruz unleashed his barrage from an AR-15-style rifle, opting not to pursue the shooter and ordering fellow officers to stay away.
Peterson resigned under pressure days after the shooting. Sheriff Scott Israel blasted the former deputy, saying he should have gone into the building and "killed the killer."
Peterson's lawyer, Joseph A. DiRuzzo III, says his client believed the gunshot sounds may have been firecrackers. DiRuzzo says Peterson thought that whatever drama was unfolding was taking place outside, thus he followed appropriate protocols.
Arreaza represents Anthony Borges, 15, who was hailed a hero by classmates who said the freshman soccer player was locking their classroom door when he was shot twice in the torso and three times in the legs. Arreaza is unmoved by Peterson's claims.
"They didn't do what they were supposed to do," he said. "Now they are coming up with excuses. He thought it was a firecracker? Who are they going to convince with that one?"
The timeline was assembled with information from surveillance cameras, 911 calls and radio dispatches. It indicates that Cruz arrived at the school via Uber at 2:19 p.m. ET. The suspect entered the freshman building about two minutes later and began shooting, the sheriff's timeline says.
At 2:22 p.m. the fire alarm sounded and the first 911 calls were made, according to the timeline.
“Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers. I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired —1200 building,” Peterson radioed one minute later, adding at 2: 25 p.m. "We also heard it’s by, inside the 1200,” he said at 2:25 p.m.
The timeline reveals that the suspect tossed his gun aside at 2:27 p.m. and walked out amid other fleeing students before officers ever entered.
"Broward, do not approach the 12 or 13-hundred building,” Peterson said at 2:28 p.m. “Stay at least 500 feet away at this point. Stay away from the 12."
Cruz wandered into a nearby Walmart, then a McDonald's before being apprehended while walking down a street about an hour after the tragedy unfolded.
Israel has sharply criticized Peterson, but otherwise has adamantly defended his deputies. School district Superintendent Robert Runcie has said the district did all it could do, trying to get Cruz help and kicking him out of school.
Arreaza pointed to dozens of incidents involving Cruz and law enforcement and school officials. More, he says, should have been done. Arreaza says he expects to be announcing more litigants this week.
"The school was in no hurry to get this monster out of there, then they failed to keep him out," Cruz said. "The price is that the children got slaughtered."
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/03/11/florida-school-shooting-lawyer-says-more-families-likely-sue/414630002/