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911 calls, radio traffic show chaos in high school massacre

In the minutes after a gunman opened fire in a Florida high school, killing 17, frantic students and parents begin flooding 911 with calls.

A deputy on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus first thought the loud bangs were firecrackers but quickly realized they are gunshots — yet he never ran toward them.

Other responding deputies and police officers desperately tried to sort through a chaotic scene, treat the injured, lock down the school and locate the shooter.

The Broward County Sheriff's Office on Thursday released 12 minutes of radio transmissions from its deputies and neighboring Coral Springs police, along with recordings of 10 of the 81 calls its 911 center received during the Feb. 14 shooting. The sheriff also released a written timeline laying out how the radio calls correlated with what was seen on unreleased school security video.

Investigators say video shows suspect Nikolas Cruz opening fire with an AR-15 assault rifle 15 seconds after he enters the school's freshman building, and firing periodically over the next six minutes. Deputy Scot Peterson, the resource officer assigned to protect the school, is at the nearby administration building. It will be more than 90 seconds before he heads toward the shooting. The first 911 call comes in 68 seconds after Cruz opens fire. The first responding deputies arrive two minutes after that.

___

The 911 calls came from students hiding in the freshman building's classrooms and parents who were getting calls and text messages from their children.

The first calls show the operators' confusion. A male inside the school, possibly a student, whispers, "There's shots at Stoneman Douglas, Someone is shooting up the school at Stoneman Douglas."

"I'm sorry. I can't hear you. What's happening?" the dispatcher responds.

"Someone is shooting up Marjory Stoneman Douglas" he whispers. She still can't hear him, "Hello... hello...hello."

But soon a sense of order begins to emerge among the Broward dispatchers and they start giving instructions on keeping the students safe. Just 13 months earlier, the same 911 center had handled a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale's airport that left six dead.

In a call relayed from nearby Boca Raton, lasting more than 16 minutes, a man reports information from a mother standing beside him. She's on another line with her daughter who is in a classroom with just one other girl. They have no closet or enclosed desks to hide behind.

The 911 dispatcher soon instructs the man to tell the girls to remain silent and turn off their cellphone ringers in case the shooter is nearby.

As the call drags on, the mother can be heard in the background encouraging the girl, who hears noises in the hallway. "I love you, I love you. It's going to be fine if you hide somewhere. Can you play dead? You need to fake dead," the mother tells the girl.

Seconds later, officers burst into the room and the girls are safe. The mother can be heard telling her daughter, "Tell them to pray, tell them to pray for strength." The two girls are led out and the call ends.

The operator sighs, "'Oh my God."

___

Outside the freshman building, Peterson makes his first radio call almost two minutes after Cruz first fired. "Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers, I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired," he tells dispatchers. Investigators say 18 seconds later he took up a position near the building and remained there for several minutes. His subsequent transmissions focus on getting nearby streets and the school shutdown and keeping deputies away from the building. Deputies set up a perimeter. Sheriff Scott Israel has said Peterson should have charged into the building and killed Cruz. Peterson, who has denied wrongdoing, retired rather than accept a suspension and investigation.

___

By now, students are flooding out of the school. Officers from nearby Coral Springs are arriving to assist deputies. Soon, their calls appear to be more aggressively assessing what they face.

About this time Cruz discards his jammed gun. His burgundy hoodie from his days as member of the school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps allows him to mix into the fleeing mass and get away.

Deputies and officers begin finding their first victims outside the building. A student shot in the leg. Another wounded by an entrance, another in the parking lot. A staff member not moving.

Eleven minutes after Cruz first fired — five minutes after he fled — four Coral Springs officers and two deputies enter the freshman building. More deputies and officers soon follow. They find bodies. They find frightened teenagers huddling in classrooms.

Another mother on a 911 call hears her daughter's rescue but then exclaims, "Three shot in her room. Oh my God. Oh my God."

An hour and 19 minutes after the first shots were fired, an hour and 13 minutes after Cruz left the building, 47 minutes after Cruz bought a soda at Walmart, Coconut Creek police officer Michael Leonard turns onto a quiet suburban street about a mile south of the school. He spots a teen wearing a burgundy hoodie walking. He yells at Cruz to get on the ground.

He does.

___

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Adriana Gomez Licon and Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this story.

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Hawks draft room was split between Luka Doncic and Trae Young. The Hawks ultimately chose Young because he brought the Hawks a first-round draft pick. The Hawks added a new floor leader to their rebuilding effort by acquiring Young in Thursday night's exchange of NBA draft picks with the Dallas Mavericks. Atlanta drafted Doncic, the guard from Slovenia, with the No. 3 overall pick and then traded rights to Doncic to Dallas for rights to Young, who was the No. 5 selection, and a 2019 first-round pick. For Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, it was all about remaining loyal to goals of adding talent and adding assets . 'In all honesty, our group was really split between the two,' Schlenk said, adding the Hawks regarded the guards as 'the best two playmakers in the draft.' 'Luka is a heck of a player. We were happy with him. Trae is a heck of a player. Obviously we're excited to have him. When the opportunity came to pick up a first-round pick from the Mavericks, it just kind of made sense to accomplish both goals with one move.' The Hawks will have three first-round picks in 2019, just as in this year's draft. Young is best known for his 3-point shooting. The Hawks selected Maryland's Kevin Huerter, a shooting guard, at No. 19 overall. Atlanta's third first-round pick was power forward Omari Spellman of Villanova, at No. 30 overall. Atlanta traded its second-round pick, Kansas point guard Devonte Graham, to Charlotte for second-round selections in 2019 and 2023. Schlenk focused on outside shooters in the draft. Young led the nation with his averages of 27.4 points and 8.7 assists for Oklahoma. He is the first player to lead the nation in scoring and assists in the same season. Huerter made 42 percent of his 3-point shots as a sophomore last season at Maryland while averaging 14.8 points per game. Spellman (6-9, 255) was considered one of the best shooters among big men in the draft. He made 43 percent of his 3s last season while averaging 10.9 points as a freshman starter on Villanova's national championship team. Young worked out for the Hawks on June 12. He said the trade to Atlanta wasn't a surprise. 'I got a feeling past few days that would happen, that was a possibility, but you never really know until your name is called,' Young said in a telephone interview. The 6-foot-2 Young scored at least 40 points in four games and tied a Division I record by recording 22 assists in a game. Young's deep 3-pointers earned him comparisons with Golden State's Stephen Curry, but Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said he was won over by Young's floor leadership. 'We love his ability to pass the ball, to make other players better with his court vision,' said Schlenk, a former assistant GM with the Warriors. 'Obviously he gets a lot of notoriety for his long-range shooting, but I think his ability to pass the ball is what we really liked about him.' Schlenk's review impressed Young. 'It means a lot because a lot of people in my opinion are so focused on my ability to shoot, which is a really big thing, especially in the NBA, but my ability to pass I feel is really underrated,' Young said. Hawks veteran point guard Dennis Schroder's future in Atlanta is uncertain. Schlenk said Schroder and Young could play together. This is not the first time the Hawks have quickly traded the No. 3 overall pick. In 2001, the Hawks made Pau Gasol the No. 3 overall pick and then traded his draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Doncic was Atlanta's highest draft pick since 2007, when center Al Horford was the No. 3 pick. The trade for Young gives first-year coach Lloyd Pierce a new scoring weapon. 'Obviously his ability to shoot the ball in today's NBA, the 3-point shot, is very important,' Schlenk said. 'What really separates him with his shooting is his ability to shoot off the dribble. You don't see that in a lot of guys and he possesses that.' The Hawks finished last in the Eastern Conference last season, when they began to rely heavily on young players. Forward-center John Collins showed promise as a rookie, and forward Taurean Prince is another young piece of the rebuilding effort. Veterans Kent Bazemore and Dwayne Dedmon are under contract for next season. ___ AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas contributed to this report ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episode No. 726 (June 21, 2018) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about UGA missing out on another defensive line recruit and where they will turn next. Brandon Adams, host of DawgNation Daily, did  Thursday’s  show from Augusta, Ga., before a meeting of the local Georgia Bulldogs club. Brandon was joined by Jeff Sentell, DawgNation’s recruiting reporter. The two talked mostly about the ramifications of one of UGA’s top targets for the defensive line, Derick ‘Rambo’ Hunter, committing to Florida State over the Bulldogs, among many others. The two spent the rest of the show taking questions from fans about Georgia’s quarterback situation, etc. For the Wednesday (June 20) show, click here. For the video version of the Thursday show, click here. For older episodes of DawgNation Daily, click  here. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA missed out on another DL recruit. Find out where the Bulldogs will turn next. appeared first on DawgNation.
  • RUTLEDGE, Ga. — Driving East out of Atlanta, keep going on until there’s no evidence of civilization, exit onto Newborn Road and head south into the middle of nowhere. Turn left onto Centenniel Road, drive about a mile, then hang a right onto the gravel road known as Keencheefoonee. Proceed through the wooden gate, turn left at the horse stables pull into a dirt parking lot. Then walk downhill along an asphalt path through a shady white oak forest and emerge into sunlight and arrive at the happiest place on Earth. No, you’re not at Disney World. This place is better. You’ve arrived at Camp Twin Lakes, which for this one day at least is known as Camp Sunshine. Georgia coach Kirby Smart puts his arms around linemen Kendall Baker and Lamont Gaillard as the Bulldogs listen to a presentation by a nurse at the infirmary at Lake Twin Lakes on Wednesday. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) Longtime Georgia Bulldogs’ fans know the drill. UGA’s football team has been making this trek an hour and change south of Athens annually for most of the last 35 years. Vince Dooley, along with wife Barbara, was appointed to the Camp Twin Lakes board of directors in 1983 and the Bulldogs have been making a midsummer visit here every year since (well, every year accept for those under coach Jim Donnan, according to camp administrators). For the unenlightened, Camp Twin Lakes is a retreat in which children with cancer and their families can get away to enjoy outdoor recreational activities for the summer. It has air-conditioned cabins for “glamping,” swimming pools, lakes, a farm (complete with miniature cows and alpacas), sports playing fields, a zipline, a gymnasium and much more. All of the available activities are retrofitted to accommodate children battling different forms of cancer. And, of course, there’s an infirmary to attend to any children who might get sick — or just scrape a knee raising their buddy on one of the many trails snaking the expansive property. It’s here that one sees a whole different side of Georgia coach Kirby Smart. He completely drops his guard and relaxes. He back-slaps and jokes with his players. He peels off at the sight of any of the campers or there families. During the hour-long tour, he seems to know somebody personally at every corner and stops to chat, falling behind the tour and then double-timing it catch back up. The familiarity is because Smart has been coming to Camp Twin Lakes a very long time. He first started coming when his older brother Karl was diagnosed with leukemia in the 1990s. His brother has long since been well, but Kirby has kept coming. He came when he was an assistant coach at Valdosta State and when he was the Miami Dolphins and Alabama. “It’s convenient because I have a lake home that’s 30-45 minutes from here (on Lake Oconee),” Smart said Wednesday. “So through the years, when I was with the Dolphins or Alabama, I’d stop by. A couple of those years Karl was still here as a counselor, so being able to stop in here to see him and everybody was good. Now that he’s head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, he brings his whole team with him, including wife Mary Beth, twins Julia and Weston and little Andrew. Wednesday they had a good time posing with a cardboard cut-out of Kirby and Karl on display in the camp’s courtyard. Andrew kept asking everybody when the dodge-ball game would start, and was front and center and in the middle of everything when it did. “He needs to get smacked around a little bit,” Smart said with a chuckle. “He’s a little too brave for his own good out there. The players are scared to bean him because they know he’s mine.” “Nobody’s like Kirby,” said Mo Thrash, one of the original founders of Camp Sunshine who serves as the Bulldogs’ tour guide and taskmaster each year. “He’s come every year since he’s been out of college. He’d always call me and say, ‘Mo, can I come to camp?’ He show up, spend an hour, hour-and-a-half with me walking around the camp saying hey to kids. No press, nobody around, just being himself. Then he’d leave. He did it every year. Then he became Georgia’s head coach. He’s just very special.” Wednesday was the first of two trips that the Bulldogs will make to Camp Sunshine. In all, Smart said about 70 players signed up to participate. About the other half will come next Wednesday. The first group seemed to include a lot of freshmen and first-year players. Notre Dame transfer Jay Hayes, wearing his new number 97 Georgia jersey, was front-and-center for many of the activities. So was long and tall true freshman Tommy Bush, until they went to alpaca pin. The nearly 6-foot-6 tall receiver, wearing the No. 12, eased to the back of the pack when the group was asked to pet the odd-looking creatures. The many interactions with the campers and staff were entertaining to observe. The players were split into two groups and toured opposite ends of the complex. When being shown the cabins where the campers stay, the girls of Cabin 10 came pouring out and high-fived every player. “Oh my  God, they’re all so tall,” one of the young teens shouted. The residents are not all Georgia fans, either. At the intersection of two paths, a young man named William yelled, “go Gators.” To that the jersey-wearing group responded with a collective, “boo!”, then just laughed it off. In the cafeteria, Smart made a beeline to a young man wearing Alabama gear, including a crimson-and-white cast on his right leg. Colton, who’s 14, said he first met Smart when he was an assistant for the Crimson Tide. “Now he tries to talk me into being a Georgia fan, but he knows I won’t convert,” Colton said. Thrash showed the team the lake and pointed to the zipline and ropes course far across on the other side. “What’s the weight capacity on that?” Smart asked loud enough for everyone to hear. “We’ve got some people here we think can break it “Be sure to keep Fernando off it,” he added, referring to support staffer and former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman Fernando Velasco. At the heart of it all, though, is a serious message. “You guys are heroes to these kids; you’re heroes to me,” Thrash said when he huddled up the team at the outset of the tour. “So go in here, look around the place, see what we do, say hello to the kids, get to know them a little bit and have a good time.” Said Smart: “I want them to appreciated what they have. You look at some of these kids and see how they have to struggle and go through things. Some of them are well now and they come back because they’re the hope for so many other kids who are going through what they did.” For the team, it was a well-earned reprieve. They’ve been working out and doing conditioning every morning for the last two weeks. That includes Wednesday when the players signed up for the trip had to report to the Butts-Mehre football complex at 5:30 a.m. “I don’t know if everybody slept the whole way down because I was asleep as soon as the bus pulled out,” junior tight end Isaac Nauta said. Participants range from players like Nauta and senior center Lamont Gaillard, who have been every year since they arrived on campus, to junior running back Elijah Holyfield, who was making his first trip Wednesday. “My freshman and sophomore years I was kind of trying to do too much,” Holyfield said. “Finally I said I’ve got to go this year because everybody was talking about how much fun it is. I knew I had to do it before I left Georgia and I loved it, so I’ll be back next week as well.” It was especially re-energizing for the freshmen, who have known nothing but regimen and brutal intensity since they arrived on campus May 31. “I think they can finally see that there’s a human side to everybody and you can go out and have fun,” Smart quipped. Camp Sunshine unique to the University of Georgia. Located 51 miles east of downtown Atlanta, the camp is located in the heart of Bulldog Country. No other teams make the pilgrimage to the East Georgia outback. Just the Bulldogs. “It’s only a Georgia thing,” Thrash said. “We’d love for other teams to come in. But it’s always special when the Georgia Bulldogs come in. They’re part of Camp Sunshine.” A happy place indeed. The post Camp Sunshine is strictly a Bulldogs’ thing, and something Kirby Smart loves appeared first on DawgNation.