TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNN/Meredith) — Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the deputy who was on duty at a high school where 17 people were massacred waited outside the building for about four minutes without ever going in.
Israel announced during a Thursday news conference that Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after being suspended without pay.
Surveillance footage from the Florida high school where 17 people were fatally shot and more than a dozen others wounded was not shown live, as responding officers initially thought.
According to Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi, the footage had been rewound, and police were watching it on a 20-minute delay, leading them to believe the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, was still in the building when he was long gone.
"The delay never put us in a situation where any kids' lives were in danger, any teachers lives were in danger," Pustizzi said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
When officers arrived on the scene of the shooting, he said, they wanted to gain access to the security footage to learn what happened and where the perpetrator could be.
But last Wednesday the footage was rewound, Pustizzi told reporters. At some point, there was a miscommunication and officers believed they were watching real-time footage.
"The issue was more of a communications failure on who was reviewing the tape, letting our guys know that it was a 20-minute delay in what they were reviewing," Pustizzi said.
The Sun-Sentinel first reported the delay in surveillance footage.
The rewound footage did not put any lives in danger, Pustizzi said, but it "did cause some confusion" when officers entered the school.
"At first the guys are hearing, 'Oh he's on the second floor,'" Pustizzi said in the news conference. "Well, it's not true. Because we have people on the second floor, and the people are saying, 'No, he's not on the second floor.'"
The Broward County School district said in a statement that its security system footage could be reviewed in both real-time or be rewound to see events that were previously recorded.
"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 statement said, adding that the district no longer had access to the footage or the server it was stored on because investigating authorities have it.
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The delay led police to brace for a shootout when the gunman was actually long gone, Coral Springs Police Capt. Brad McKeone said.
But McKeone, one of the responding officers, said the delay did not hinder access to the victims.
"It had no delay. It didn't slow us down to getting us to anybody," McKeone told CNN.
The main difference, he said, was that officers thought they were going to confront the gunman. In reality, the shooter had already left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
"I expected to be in a gunbattle," McKeone said.
Broward County Public Schools had not responded to CNN's request for comment Thursday about the school surveillance system. The Broward County Sheriff's Office, which is leading the shooting investigation, also has not explained why the video was on tape delay.
Israel said he made the decision after reviewing video surveillance and interviewing witnesses, including the deputy himself. The sheriff says Peterson responded to the building where the shooting took place, took up a position outside a door and never went in.
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