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Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
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‘People are bleeding.’ New 911 calls from Parkland show terror of those trapped inside

The young woman says she can’t breathe.

"There are people here, they’re all bleeding," she whispers through tears to a police dispatcher. "They’re going to die."

The terrified freshman was calling from inside the Parkland high school building attacked by a former student, Nikolas Cruz, on Feb. 14. The call was among more than a dozen released by the Coral Springs Police Department Wednesday. A separate batch of 911 calls was released last week by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

"Honey, I’m really sorry that you’re going through this, but I’m here with you," a 911 operator told the girl. "Stay quiet."

The calls shed some light on the terror inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during Cruz’s rampage, which killed 17 people.

The student said three people were shot in her classroom. Two were beyond help, she sobbed.

"They’re dead," she said. "There’s blood dripping ... oh, my god."

Many of the callers reported that Cruz was shooting up Building 12, where freshman classes were held.

"We are getting a lot of calls from that 1200 building," one 911 operator told a parent who called in to report the shooting.

But BSO deputies, who were first on the scene, waited outside of the building instead of going in to confront Cruz and offer first aid to victims. That was in contravention of training, according to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

Read More: Uncharted territory: Could Rick Scott suspend the Broward sheriff?

Read More: Rick Scott calls for FDLE investigation into law enforcement response to ParklandThe agency has come under national criticism for its response to the shooting and whether it — and other authorities such as the FBI and Broward County Public Schools — missed warning signs about Cruz’s troubling behavior in the years before the shooting. Stoneman Douglas school resource officer Scot Peterson resigned soon after the attack, although he has defended his conduct, saying he thought the shooter was outside.

Coral Springs police officers were the first to go into Building 12, about eleven minutes after Cruz started shooting, according to a preliminary timeline released by BSO. Cruz, who’s been indicted on 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, had already fled. Coral Springs police said its 911 phone line received 115 phone calls between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the day of shooting. BSO said it received 81 calls. The two departments operate different 911 systems.

As Cruz raged through the building, teachers took charge to protect their students.

One teacher can be heard on a 911 call whispering to her students, telling them to stay down and stay quiet. She was calling from the same classroom as the panicked young woman, just two minutes after Cruz started shooting.

"I’m in a classroom The lights are off," the teacher told a 911 operator. "The door is locked. But a student was shot. It went through the door."

She reported the male student was not breathing after being shot in the chest.

"He’s twitching. There’s blood all over," she said.

The operator told her to put pressure on the wound and stay on the line. Then, after several more minutes, the operator believed the shooter was moving back toward the classroom, reflecting law enforcement’s uncertainty about Cruz’s location.

"He’s by your room. Everyone stay quiet," the operator told the teacher. She said Coral Springs police and BSO were on the scene and would be clearing the classrooms soon. (Cruz was captured near the school about an hour later.)

The Coral Springs dispatchers were also dealing with calls from frantic parents seeking information.

"Can you tell me what’s going on? My daughter is in Stoneman Douglas High School," one mother said. "She says there’s a shooting,"

"Ma’am, right now we’re just now getting calls in, so I have literally zero information for you," the operator replied. "Our phone lines are completely lit up so we’re still trying to figure out ourselves."

"Do not go to the school," the operator added.

Inside, people were dying.

"There’s a lot of blood," one woman reported. "Please help"

The operator tried to ask questions, but the woman sounded as if she’d gone into shock.

"It’s real, it’s real," she said over and over again.

Finally, she whispered, "please help." Then the line went dead and the call cut off.

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