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Radio calls from school shooting reveal deputy knew shots fired, knew where and did not engage

Posted at 4:00 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 18:02:30-05

In the first few minutes of a radio dispatch call, Broward County Sheriff's School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson became certain he heard gunfire inside a building on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus. 

"We're talking about the 1200 building, it's going to be the building of Holmberg Road," said Peterson over the radio. 

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Peterson is heard on the radio several times repeating where the shooting was taking place but never said he's going in. 

"He is at ground zero so he has a dual responsibility to inform dispatch that he’s got a situation that he needs help, he did that appropriately, but what is a vexing issue is that he consistently takes the position outside of the school where the shooting is occurring and is hearing this over a period of minutes and does not advise dispatch, I’m moving forward, I’m moving in, I’m going into where the shooting is occurring," said law enforcement expert Andrew Scott. 

Scott said at that time Peterson was the commanding officer of the incident and was trained to move towards the shot fired to stop the threat. 

"The now policy throughout the country, it’s not just the Broward Sheriff’s Office but throughout the country, first responding officers are duty bound. Duty bound means they have an obligation to neutralize that threat and to mitigate that threat, he doesn’t need to get an order from dispatch," added Scott. 

The radio channel goes silent at times while officers pop in to say they're en route. 

"I couldn't hear supervisors on air making any time of inquiries," said Scott. "They are listening, absolutely," he said when asked whether a watch commander would be listening to the transmission. "The appropriate protocol might have been the watch commander on duty, on the street, needed to get some more clarification or needed to start to direct more officers into certain positions and to inquire 'are you engaging?' Meaning are you, Scot Peterson going to engage?"

Peterson resigned after he was placed on suspension without pay following the shooting. We reached out to the Broward Sheriff's Office with questions about the protocol for dispatch or supervisors and are waiting for a response.