What to Know
- The 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz was captured an hour later in a neighborhood about 2 miles from the school where 17 people died.
- For almost a half-hour after the shooting, police officers thought they were seeing his actions live on the school's security system.
For almost a half-hour after a school shooter dropped his assault-style rifle and escaped Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, police officers thought they were seeing his actions live on the school's security system.
They soon realized the images were tape delayed, which Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told the South Florida Sun Sentinel made a chaotic situation more confusing.
The 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz was captured an hour later in a neighborhood about 2 miles from the school where 17 people died Feb. 14.
The newspaper reports police transmissions show that police initially couldn't get to security cameras. Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference he didn't know about the security system delays but would look into it.
At a news conference Thursday, Pustizzi said there was a communication issue between the person reviewing the footage and the officers in the school.
"There was nothing wrong with their equipment, their equipment works, it's just that when the person was reviewing the tape from 20 minutes earlier, somehow that wasn't communicated to the officers that it was a 20-minute delay," Pustizzi said. "It added to some confusion...because the officers that are in the school trying to find him were given inaccurate information, unintentionally, it's just miscommunication, but that 20-minute delay did cause some confusion."
Pustizzi said the confusion didn't put anyone in danger.
"The delay never put us in a situation where any kids' lives were in danger or any teachers' lives were in danger," he said.
BSO officials say Cruz started firing shots around 2:21 p.m. and left less than 10 minutes later. Commissioners approved a nearly $60 million plan to replace the old system, which reportedly will not be ready until later this year.
In a statement Thursday, Broward County Public Schools officials said the Sun-Sentinel's report contained information that "does not accurately reflect the capability of the surveillance system" and said "the account of events reported in the article does not adequately or accurately reflect the full circumstances in immediately responding to the event."
"The surveillance system definitely has the ability to view the cameras in real-time. It also has the ability to view the recorded footage and replay footage from earlier in the day. During the immediate response to the event, the system was being viewed in real-time and the recorded footage was being viewed to retrace the actions of the shooter," the district said in the statement. "The District no longer has access to the video footage, as the server and all footage related to the incident was removed from the District’s possession through a search warrant as part of the investigation to the event."