Commissioners honor Coconut Creek police for Parkland school shooting response

Officer Michael Leonard arrested Nikolas Cruz after shooting

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Madeleine Wright - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Broward County commissioners are honoring the Coconut Creek Police Department for its response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Commissioners presented two proclamations during their meeting Tuesday morning.

The proclamations designate Feb. 27 as Officer Michael Leonard Appreciation Day and Coconut Creek Police Department Appreciation Day in Broward County.

Leonard is credited with capturing Nikolas Cruz after he opened fire at his former school, killing 14 students and three teachers.

The officer said he was on patrol Feb. 14 when he heard a description of the gunman over his police radio. 

Leonard said due to the ongoing investigation he couldn't discuss what Cruz said to him that day, but said that he's proud to be honored for his work.

"When you come against evil like that and you have children at home that are about that age, it's very close to my heart," Leonard said. "It was difficult. But I'm so honored that I was able to be a part and do my part and take this killer into custody."

The recognition comes as Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has ignored calls to resign because of his agency's handling of the Parkland school shooting.

School resource Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after Israel said he failed to act during the shooting. Israel said Peterson stood outside the building where the shooting occurred for four minutes while Cruz was inside.

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