Shortly after the new year, a top Parkland official asked the Broward Sheriff’s Office to ship out two deputies whose response to the Stoneman Douglas massacre was severely criticized.
And so they were. On Jan. 8, Deputies Arthur Perry and Michael Kratz were ordered transferred, effective Jan. 19, from Parkland to new posts in the county.
The two were among eight who arrived at the school early enough to hear gunshots but did not sprint into the freshman building to take on the shooter, a review by state investigators found.
Two of the eight deputies retired. Then-Sheriff Scott Israel took away the badges of three more and put them on restricted duty — with pay — while under internal investigation.
The three others, including Kratz and Perry, were moved out of Parkland but are not under investigation, an agency spokeswoman said.
It remains to be seen if Gregory Tony — the sheriff who was installed by the governor Jan. 11 — will take further action. Here is a look at the status of each of the deputies and their actions on Feb. 14, the day a gunman killed 17 and wounded 17 others.
Deputy Arthur Perry
Job status: The Broward Sheriff’s Office reassigned Perry to road patrol about two weeks after the shooting, which a spokeswoman called an “administrative decision” unrelated to the shooting. Earlier this month, Parkland City Manager Bob Payton asked that Perry, as well as Kratz, be transferred out of Parkland, citing a public safety concern. “These deputies responded to the tragedy on February 14th and their actions have been called into question by the MSD Safety Commission,” Payton wrote, referring to the state panel that investigated deputies’ response. Perry was reassigned to the airport.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $99,677
“We were probably on scene within 90 seconds. … We were there fast,” Perry told a detective in an official statement taken two days after the shooting. Perry was the officer working at nearby Park Trails Elementary School. On Feb. 14, around dismissal time, he said he heard the Stoneman Douglas school resource officer on the radio screaming about a shooter. He threw on his vest, grabbed his rifle and drove to the high school.
He arrived about the same time as Detective Brian Goolsby and the two went to the west gate of the student parking lot.
They found it locked. Goolsby had a key.
“We have shots fired. I’m trying to get open — the fence open,” Perry said on the radio at 2:27 pm. The gunman still was in the building. He had been shooting for six minutes by then. As Perry approached, the shots stopped. He saw a coach lying on the ground mortally wounded and saw bullet holes on the school’s third floor but wasn’t certain of the shooter’s location. Perry told investigators he crouched behind a car and remained there “watching the windows,” for what the commission called “an extended period of time.” Over the radio, Peterson had urged deputies to “stay at least 500 feet away.”
Perry is 53 and has a master’s degree in criminal justice. Perry’s job evaluations do not address his fitness to confront a mass shooter, but instead note that his “uniforms are always clean” and his “trunk is organized neatly.” He also “takes his own time to wash and wax his car by hand,” one supervisor wrote.
Deputy Michael Kratz
Job status: The Broward Sheriff’s Office said Kratz is not under investigation. But he recently was transferred out of Parkland at the request of the city manager. Records show he was reassigned to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a city that also contracts with the Sheriff’s Office for police services.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $123,362
Kratz, 50, was looking out for speeding drivers when the report of “shots fired” came over his radio from school deputy Scot Peterson.
Kratz was the first backup deputy to arrive at the scene, roughly three minutes after the shooting began. He stopped his patrol car on Holmberg Road, near the school’s football field and short of the freshman building. There he halted three school buses after Peterson radioed for officers to shut down traffic. Kratz then heard gunshots. “I hear shots fired by the football field, shots fired by the football field,” Kratz reported over his police radio, as Cruz fired on the third floor.
He later told investigators the gunshots were very loud, like he was “30 feet in front of me.” He went to the trunk of his car to get his rifle and took cover.
Other deputies said this transmission byKratz caused confusion: They weren’t sure if there were multiple shooters or the suspect was on the move.
At one point Kratz yelled to a partner for bolt cutters to open a fence between him and a wounded student. A Coral Springs officer later approached Kratz and told him the shooter was possibly inside the school and was wearing an ROTC uniform. Kratz shared this over his radio but did not go into the school.
He later went to help with crowd control and directing traffic. Kratz last had active shooter training in 2015.
Detective Brian Goolsby
Job status: Goolsby was transferred out of Parkland in June and stationed in Dania Beach. The Broward Sheriff’s Office did not answer questions about his reassignment and Goolsby declined comment.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $108,030
While in the U.S. Army decades ago, Goolsby had earned an “M16 expert” marksmanship badge. By Feb. 14, Goolsby — then 49 — was a seasoned detective in Parkland, handling burglaries and drug cases.
Though Goolsby arrived at the school in time to hear the last volley of gunshots, he never engaged the teenage gunman in battle. He told investigators he was unsure of whether rounds of bullets had penetrated the windows of the third floor from inside or outside the freshman building.
He took up a position on the structure’s west side and was recorded on the radio saying: “Let’s get a command post set upon the south side of the Sawgrass. … We need to get units in here so we can start trying to find this guy.”
The commission said his instructions showed he was trying to provide direction to responding deputies, as no Broward sheriff’s supervisor had done so yet.
Sgt. Brian Miller
Job status: In late November, Miller was put under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, stripped of his badge and placed on restrictive duty. This came days after pointed criticism from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, the state panel reviewing the shooting.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $137,249
Miller, 58, heard three to four gunshots as he arrived at Stoneman Douglas, describing them as “rapid … not muffled at all.”
He thought they were coming from outside — not inside — the school.
He parked on Holmberg Road, off campus, and “didn’t move,” according to the commission chairman, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“He was the first supervisor on the scene, and he never moved, even after deputies and officers were going into that building,” Gualtieri said.
Miller did not get on the radio until about five minutes after he arrived, when he asked for a helicopter and K-9.
The commission found no evidence that he ordered deputies to go toward the gunfire.
“I was controlling the scene as best I could,” he told investigators, explaining that he was trying to “get resources and people in places to help.”
Miller blamed the county’s overloaded radios for his ineffective leadership, but the commission said he arrived before the system crashed or “throttled.”
Parkland had been Miller’s fourth post in five years. He’d previously been assigned to Port Everglades, the airport and Internal Affairs. In 2016, his supervisor recommended that Miller “participate in any form of firearms training” and “high-liability training,” noting that Parkland has fewer service calls than most other cities.
Deputy Edward Eason
Job status: The Broward Sheriff’s Office put Eason on restrictive duty Nov. 30 while under internal investigation.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $118,431
Eason was less than 2 miles from the high school when he learned of the shooting. But he didn’t go directly to Stoneman Douglas.
He bypassed it. Instead, he went to the east side of Westglades Middle School, near the high school’s baseball field.
The commission doubted that he “traveled urgently,” based on how long it took him to get there.
The panel found his statements “vague” and “contradictory,” leaving them unsure what he was doing in the minutes before he turned on his body camera at 2:28 p.m., after gunman Nikolas Cruz had left the building.
“Regardless of what he was doing, Eason did not move toward the sound of the gunshots on the MSDHS campus,” the commission determined.
Asked by investigators why he didn’t, Eason, 43, said: “Well, I didn’t know where they were, the gunshots.”
The commission, however, found that at 2:29 p.m., he is seen on his body camera approaching people on the baseball field and asking them if they heard the gunshots — while gesturing toward the high school campus.
Eason told them he heard “at least a dozen, at least.”
Months before he was put on restrictive duty in November, he had been suspended for three days for failing to write a report detailing his handling of a 2016 tip that Cruz was going to shoot up a school.
Nothing became of the tip, which later was considered one of the tragic missed warning signs of Cruz’s deadly intentions. Eason’s 2011 job evaluation had signaled problems.
“Deputy Eason has displayed deficiencies in the areas of work performance, customer service, critical decision making, planning and organizing and polices and procedures,” a supervisor wrote. He was put under a performance plan and his later reviews improved. Reached by the Sun Sentinel, Eason declined comment.
Deputy Joshua Stambaugh
Job status: One day after the state commission released its major report, Stambaugh was put under investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and placed on restrictive duty.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $152,857
Stambaugh, 50, was working off duty security at a nearby school when he heard reports of shots fired over his police radio.
He arrived at Stoneman Douglas nearly five minutes after Cruz started shooting.
Stambaugh got out of his truck, went to the back of it to put on his bulletproof vest and then took cover for about five minutes after hearing four or five gunshots, according to body camera footage and a sworn statement.
“I had no idea where they were coming from,” he told state investigators.
His next move was not into the school, but to get back into his truck and drive to a nearby highway. He later said a dispatcher asked an officer to go to the south side of the school and no one answered.
That trip took over five minutes and thirty seconds, the state commission found.
“I could see the whole side of the school and I had binoculars,” he said in a sworn statement to investigators. “So, if he was anywhere in that school, on the stairwells, I could, you know, get vision of it and I can advise on the radio.”
Stambaugh, like other Sheriff’s Office deputies, struggled to recall the last time he received active shooter training — uncertain whether it was in the last 10 years.
“I couldn’t give you a time,” he told an investigator, according to the state commission. “It was a long time ago.”
Sheriff’s Office records show he last had training in 2016.
Deputy Richard Seward
Job status: Seward retired in October, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Total 2018 earnings, including salary and overtime: $152,023
Seward, 65, arrived about four minutes and 20 seconds after Cruz started shooting. While pulling up to the school, he heard “five or six very, very loud” gunshots, he told investigators. “They sounded like bombs.”
Instead of going toward the gunshots, through a nearby gate, Seward got his bulletproof vest and went behind his vehicle’s engine block to put the vest on. He asked for a nearby intersection to be shutdown before heading toward the freshman building.
“I’m not that fast anymore,” he told investigators.
“They had a head start on me because they were young guys,” he said of other officers. “I’m not that young anymore.”
When he made it to the building, he held a door open as students and staff fled. He later told investigators he went inside with Coral Springs officers.
Brian Miller, the sergeant who also didn’t immediately go in, wrote in an annual evaluation for Seward: “During the shooting call at Douglas High School, Deputy Seward responded quickly and assisted BSO and other law enforcement departments in searching for the shooter, from the north side of the high school.”
Seward last had active shooter training in 2015.
School Deputy Scot Peterson
Job status: On Feb. 22, 2018, Peterson resigned from the Sheriff’s Office. President Donald Trump called him a coward. In April, he began receiving a state pension of more than $8,700 a month, which he can earn for the rest of his life.
Total 2018 earnings: $27,215
Peterson, 55, was in the Stoneman Douglas administration building handling an incident of a student with a counterfeit driver’s license, when a campus monitor reported possibly hearing a firecracker in the freshman building, he later told a sheriff’s investigator. Peterson met up with two school officials and went towards the building in a golf cart.
At 2:23 p.m. Peterson arrived on the east side of the building. Cruz was still on the first floor.
Peterson drew his gun but did not go in. Over his police radio he said he could hear firecrackers or “possible shots fired.”
The statement conflicted with his later account: that he was unsure where the sounds were coming from. Two days after the shooting, he told a Sheriff’s Office investigator that the gunfire sounded like it was coming from outside. “It was so loud,” he said, two days after the shooting. “I thought it was probably outside. I didn’t even think it was even inside the building cause it was so clear and loud at that point.”
The state commission was critical of his response, saying he was “derelict in his duty.” A report by the commission said: “there is overwhelming evidence that Deputy Peterson knew that the gunshots were coming from within or within the immediate area of” the building. Instead of going in, Peterson took cover next to a nearby building for nearly 48 minutes.
During that time he called for a nearby intersection to be blocked off and told deputies to stay away from the building. Peterson had been a school deputy at Stoneman Douglas since 2009. His last active shooter training was in 2016.