Investigators of the Parkland massacre told a state safety commission this week flaws in the school’s design aided the accused gunman as he stalked the halls for nearly seven minutes Feb. 14, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Some 14 students and three staff members died after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 inside the 1200 building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Authorities said teachers attempting to secure their classrooms were forced to open the door and lock the room from the outside, contributing to the chaos of the rampage.
“That’s messed up, no matter how you slice it,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairmain of the 16-member commission assembled by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, during its first meeting Tuesday. The commission is charged with drafting a report on the incident, including recommendations for safety improvements, by Jan. 1, 2019.
“Everyone is going to find out just how much incompetency there was and it led to my daughter and the other 16 victims being murdered,” said Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, in the attack. Pollack sits on the commission with Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, and Max Schachter, father of Alex Schachter. “I want everyone in Broward to know what happened,” he added.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office provided a video animation of the rampage timeline. In it, Cruz — represented by a black dot — methodically moves between three floors of the building, gunning down students caught in the halls and stairwells. He claimed his other victims by firing through small windows in the classroom doors. Law enforcement said smoke from the gunfire triggered a school-wide fire alarm, adding to the panic.
Gualtieri promised the commission “would get to the bottom of this,” according to a report from the Sun Sentinel. “Nobody else should have to endure what those children had to endure that day,” he said.
The commission will also examine the failures of mental health counselors, school administrators and the Broward County Sheriffs Office — all of whom knew of Cruz’s mental instability years before the attack.
Earlier reports indicate district officials transferred Cruz out of a school for behaviorally troubled students and into Stoneman Douglas in January 2016, despite concerns over his readiness for such a change. He was later expelled from the school after several disciplinary actions.