Warning led officer to seek cover in shooting
Coral Springs Police Officer Tim Burton rushed to get to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High when he heard over his radio there was a gunman there.
But when he got there, he found the school resource officer, Broward Deputy Scot Peterson, seeking cover behind a concrete column, he said. Peterson told Burton “I needed to watch my back,” Burton said in a report. So Burton took cover in a parking lot.
Burton’s firsthand account is among the reports released by Coral Springs police on Monday. Burton’s report stands out because he was both the first on-duty officer from the department to arrive. He also had an exchange with Peterson, who was criticized by the sheriff for his response.
Coral Springs has been releasing reports piecemeal over the past two months, amid the ongoing criminal investigation into the Feb. 14 shooting. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at the school.
Burton said he held back during a brief wait until surveillance video indicated Cruz had left the building. Burton wrote in his report that Peterson told him he hadn’t heard any gunfire for a few minutes and didn’t know where the shooter was.
Burton considered the possibility Cruz was hiding and preparing a potential ambush. So he held back in the parking lot, hiding behind a tree trunk