Captain retires, sergeant suspended over Parkland massacre
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida sheriff's captain who oversaw the initial response to February's Parkland high-school massacre resigned Tuesday and the first sergeant to arrive at the scene has been suspended over what other law enforcement officials saw as their inaction during the initial minutes after the first shots were fired.
The Broward Sheriff's Office announced Capt. Jan Jordan resigned and Sgt. Brian Miller was placed on paid suspension pending an internal investigation. He was ordered to surrender his gun, badge and car and not to perform any law-enforcement duties.
Jordan oversaw the city of Parkland on Feb. 14 when a gunman killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Law enforcement officers told investigators she appeared to be in a trancelike state and overwhelmed as she tried to direct the initial response to the attack.
Miller arrived at the school during the shooting but video shows he stayed outside the parking lot until long after the massacre ended, even as other law enforcement officers entered the building.
At the request of a state commission investigating the massacre, the sheriff's office had not immediately conducted its own inquiry into its deputies' actions. An investigator for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission gave a report last week that was heavily critical of both Jordan and Miller.
Jordan never ordered deputies into the three-story freshman building where the shootings happened, the report said. Although her radio frequently failed because the system was overloaded, her first transmission ordered a perimeter to be formed around the school. She arrived at Stoneman Douglas about 10 minutes after the shooting began.
"Jan Jordan was overwhelmed. She was overwhelmed," Gregory Lees, deputy chief of the nearby Coconut Creek Police Department, told investigators. He arrived at the command post shortly after the shooting. "I could see it. I tried to help her." Jordan was removed as Parkland's commander in June.
Shots were still being fired when Miller arrived at the school and parked on a road a few hundred feet from the freshman building, video shows. Commissioners said Miller should have taken command as ranking deputy on the scene, but he instead took a position behind his patrol car and never made a radio call. He then stood by as officers from neighboring Coral Springs and later arriving deputies ran past him into the building.
"He heard gunshots and he didn't move," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman.