Parkland School shooting: School officials and law enforcement could have saved more lives, reveals investigation
New images released as part of an investigative report published on December 28 show Nikolas Cruz roaming the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
According to a report by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Friday, the teenage gunman who carried out the Parkland School shooting had an easy run during the early stages of the ordeal after administrators, as well as the police, failed to take key precautions that could have saved several lives.
Bone-chilling images of Nikolas Cruz, 19, shooting his former classmates at will as he roamed the first-floor hallways of Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were included in the said probe by the outlet. The report states that multiple lives could have been saved if school administrators and law enforcement authorities took appropriate action during the earliest minutes of the shooting, the New York Post reports.
"Security monitor Andrew Medina, an unarmed baseball coach, is riding in a golf cart and unlocking gates 20 minutes before dismissal. He sees Cruz walk through one of those unguarded gates with a rifle bag," the paper reported.
"He recognizes Cruz as 'Crazy Boy', the former student that he and his colleagues had predicted most likely to shoot up the school. He radios another campus monitor/coach, but he does not pursue Cruz and does not call a Code Red to lock down the school."
But according to the paper, Medina should never have been on the job in the first place. "School investigators had recommended he be fired for sexually harassing students, but district administrators overruled them," the paper wrote.
Despite "learning a gunman is on campus", Medina was the first of three school employees who failed to call for a lockdown, the investigative team found. Medina instead elected to alert David Taylor, another staffer, who spotted the shooter carrying a rifle bag as he walked down the hall.
Taylor, instead of rising to the occasion, followed suit and turned the other way, as seen in the security camera footage. He later told investigators he attempted to cut Cruz off on the second floor by using the stairs at the other end of the hallway.
Cruz is then seen walking into a stairwell in the videotapes obtained by the outlet, where he comes across Chris McKenna, an unsuspecting freshman, who sees the 19-year-old shooter load his gun. “You’d better get out of here,” Cruz tells him at the time. "Things are gonna start getting messy."
McKenna immediately rushed to his football coach Aaron Feis and told him there was someone in the school with a gun. It was later found that Feis did not use his radio to call for a "code red" lockdown. This was the second missed opportunity.
Unchecked and unconfronted, Cruz took his weapon out as he left the stairwell and fired his first shots, instantly killing three freshmen in the first-floor hallway. According to the report, Taylor raced up to the second floor and hid behind a janitor's closet as soon as he heard the shots. The Sun-Sentinel found that Taylor had a radio at the time but did not call for a lockdown — wasting the third and final chance to limit the bloodbath.
In the minutes that followed, another 14 students and staff lost their lives. It was also found that the fire alarms that went off did more harm than help, sending students scrambling into hallways and leading them right into the gunman's path.