A retired Secret Service agent pointed out security vulnerabilities at a Florida high school two months before a gunman killed 17 people there.
Retired agent Steve Wexler pointed out unlocked gates, unlocked doors and no identification badges for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, The Sun Sentinel of South Florida reported.
Wexler’s children had graduated from the high school and he spoke regularly to classes about law enforcement.
He had previously offered to make security recommendations, and he was asked to conduct a ‘site survey’ of the campus last December.
Accompanied by an assistant principal, Wexler walked through the school with Post-it notes numbered 1 through 20.
A retired Secret Service agent pointed out security vulnerabilities at a Florida high school two months before a gunman killed 17 people there
He handed them out to staffers or stuck them to desks and doorknobs to point out their vulnerabilities.
Wexler said he presented his recommendations to four staffers at the school.
‘I said, “This stuff is blatantly obvious. You’ve got to fix this”,’ he said.
From that moment, Wexler said he never heard back from the district.
Florida’s government has ordered the shooting be investigated by a state commission of inquiry.
The blue-ribbon panel will likely ask Wexler to give statements.
‘We’re aware of him,’ said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who is leading the commission.
‘We’re interested in talking to him.’
A spokesperson for the school district told the Sun Sentinel that ‘a school administrator did discuss security recommendations from an individual last year.’
Retired agent Steve Wexler pointed out unlocked gates, unlocked doors and no identification badges for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Wexler spent 27 years in the Secret Service before retiring in 2014.
His two children graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, so he was known to teachers there.
Wexler was also a regular guest lecturer to classes. He would talk about the criminal justice system.
Wexler said he printed out the school’s floor plan, bell schedule, and aerial map.
On December 13 of last year, he arrived early for his meeting in order to test the security on the grounds.
Wexler had previously offered to make security recommendations, and he was asked to conduct a ‘site survey’ of the campus last December. The image above shows parents waiting for news about their loved ones after initial reports of the shooting in Parkland on February 14
Wexler said he pulled into the parking lot through the open gate and sat there for 20 minutes, during which time nobody approached him.
He then took the assistant principal, Winfred Porter, on a short ride in his truck through the bus loop.
Wexler pointed out that the gate to the bus loop was open during midday.
‘Why the heck was it unlocked?’ Wexler said he wondered to himself.
Porter watched from afar as Wexler had no trouble getting into the school breezeway where students and staff would gather.
Wexler then entered an open back door which led to the administration building.
He then took yellow Post-it notes numbered 1 to 20 and handed them to each administrator or ‘victim’ would be gunned down if someone tried to commit a mass murder.
Wexler said he had no trouble roaming the premises and putting down Post-it notes unimpeded.
‘Nobody challenged me,’ he said.
‘No one approached me — “Who are you?”‘
Eventually, Wexler said he reached the office of Deputy Scot Peterson, the so-called ‘Broward Coward.’
Peterson was forced to resign a week after the school shooting. He was filmed during the massacre standing outside for minutes while gunman Nikolas Cruz went on his shooting spree.
Wexler said that when he reached Peterson’s office, Peterson had his back turned toward him while working on the computer.
He then turned to the assistant principal.
‘Mr. Porter, I ran out of numbers. You want me to keep going?’ he asked.
Wexler said he then made his recommendations to school officials, including locking the gates, giving students ID badges, doing regular active-shooter drills, and giving any adult the power to declare a lock down.
A frustrated Wexler said his recommendations appeared to fall on deaf ears.
Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz quickly glances up at the prosecutors during a hearing on April 27, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale
‘Where on the food chain did that information die?’ he asked.
‘I tell them what to do and then they don’t do it.
‘If they didn’t want to use the recommendation, why then would the school reach out to me?
‘I said, “Keep the gates locked”.
‘If they just kept the gates locked the kid would have had to jump the fence and then it would have been more obvious.
‘It didn’t have to happen. Those kids didn’t have to die.’
School administrators declined to comment on the specifics of Wexler’s complaints.