Nikolas Cruz studied the Columbine school shooting and was able to move freely through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School before the Feb. 14 attack, a commission established to find out what happened during the Parkland, Florida, shooting learned Tuesday.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission met for the first time at Broward College's north campus in Coconut Creek, revealing more details about the time before the shooting and some of the challenges faced during it, the Miami Herald reported. Cruz allegedly fired on his former classmates and teachers, killing 17 and wounding more than a dozen others.
Police radios became so jammed during the shooting that Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies and Coral Springs police officers clearing the building were forced to communicate by hand, the Herald reported.
Teachers, who were instructed to lock their students in classrooms during such an event, could only lock their doors from the outside, putting them in harm's way, according to the newspaper.
Commissioners heard that Cruz, who had researched Colorado's 1999 Columbine High School shooting before the spree, allegedly walked through campus unquestioned before the shooting, the Herald wrote. They also heard that the smoke coming from the gun muzzle during the shooting was so intense that it actually set off the fire alarm, per the newspaper.
An animation presented during the commission meeting showed the reported timeline when Cruz allegedly moved inside the school, showing yellow dots for those wounded and purple for deaths, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The 20-member commission, led by Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, will report in January how policies and procedures affected the incident and who is responsible for any lapses, the Herald reported.
During the meeting Gualtieri said the commission will look at how police responded to the shooting, how the school district and a behavioral center handled Cruz's outbursts, and Cruz's entire life, from cradle to incarceration, the Herald said.
The commission will examine thousands of documents, witness statements and police reports, call its own witnesses, and potentially review the disturbing video captured by the body cameras of the first responders.
Ryan Petty, Max Schachter, and Andrew Pollack, parents who had children die in the attack, where selected to sit on the commission, the Herald said. With subpoena power, Gualtieri said he plans on getting information to complete the investigation, regardless of how cooperative some agencies are, the Herald reported.
"There's two ways to do it," Gualtieri told the commission, per the Herald. "The easy way and the hard way. We're going to get it. We’re going to figure this out."
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