Rural county summit begins, Stoneman Douglas safety committee chair speaks candidly about Parkland shooting

Source: MGN

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 26, 2019

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Law enforcement officials in our region got new insights into the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The chairman of the committee investigating the shooting, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, spoke in Gadsden County Wednesday.

The presentation kicked off the Seventh Annual Rural County Summit at the Florida Public Safety Institute.

Gualtieri told attendees that the Parkland shooting was a disaster and passed along ways he says can keep schools safer in the future.

"Hello. My name is Nick and I'm going to be your next school shooter of 2018." Said Nicolas Cruz in a video.

Gualtieri says authorities found the video in Cruz's cell phone after he allegedly shot 34 people -- killing 17 -- at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

"My goal is at least 20 people with an AR-15 and a couple trace rounds." Cruz said in the video.

Gualtieri played the video for a roomful of law enforcement and school officials at the summit.

He advised them how to minimize harm in future situations.

"Prevention isn't realistic. Prevention is not reality because it is going to happen." Gualtieri said.

Gualtieri says schools need to learn how to identify a threat, then communicate it effectively.

He pointed out that monitors at Stoneman Douglas saw Cruz walk in.

"Not one person called that code red until Cruz was three quarters of the way down the third floor, and only had two people left to kill. Thirty-four in three minutes and 51 seconds."

Gualtieri says the first unit wasn't dispatched to the school until nearly a minute and a half after the first 911 call.

He criticizes the reaction of several responding law enforcement officers, saying some took too much time to prepare, and some hid.

Gualtieri strongly suggests all schools in Florida join the Guardian program, which allows armed personnel on campus.

Gadsden County recently joined the program.

"We want to keep our staff, our children safe in our schools. We're going to hire people, train people to make sure that our kids stay safe." Gadsden County Sheriff Morris A. Young said.

Gadsden County school officials say they will not be arming teaches as a part of the program.

The all-day rural county summit continues Thursday and Friday.

Other topics include internet crimes, bullying, violent crimes against children, and more.