FINAL UPDATE: READ MORE HERE
UPDATE: This video shows Hogg apparently in a closet during the shooting:
His comments quoted below to CBS still don’t make sense. Did he leave campus and then violate the lockdown to enter campus and interview students? How did he get home and back? Some students were bussed to a nearby hotel as they were evacuated from campus. Is he talking about going there? This needs to be clarified.
UPDATE #2: This Vox article indicates that Hogg went back to the campus area at 6 pm and did not actually enter campus, but had his camera and interviewed people across the street from campus. Here’s his quote:
At 6 pm after the shooting, I took my camera, got on my bike. I rode in basically twilight. And I ride my bike three miles down winding sidewalks and find my way to the school, as I’ve done in previous years. All the while, I was making sure my camera bag didn’t rip open, because if you zip it a certain way, the camera falls out, and it would be destroyed.
After reviewing all of this, it appears that the problem was that CBS included a very confusing quote without context. Hogg was on campus during the shooting and returned several hours later to interview people across the street. The original story remains below, in strikethrough. I am sorry for the error and have updated the post accordingly.
ADDED 3/28/2018: Please see additional information in this post: It Was a Mistake. It Was Wrong. And I’m Sorry.
Since the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, student David Hogg has been one of the most prominent voices calling for stricter gun control laws, including at this weekend’s “March For Our Lives” protests. But Hogg’s statements in a new CBS documentary about the shooting is casting doubt on Hogg’s original story that he was at school on the day of the shooting. On February 15, TIME Magazine published an interview with Hogg where he described being in his AP environmental science class, hearing gunshots and then the fire alarm, and being directed back into a classroom by a janitor during the shooting (emphasis added):
David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, knows what gunshots sound like: His father worked in law enforcement, and taught him about weapons and how to handle them. So when Hogg heard a “pop” while sitting in an AP environmental science class around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, he told his teacher it sounded strangely like a gunshot. But there had been a fire drill that very morning and talk of a “Code Red” exercise to prepare for an active shooter. This must just be a surprise drill, he reasoned.
And then the fire alarm sounded. Dutifully acting on it, Hogg and other students tried to exit the building. A janitor—Hogg doesn’t know his name but calls him an angel—knew where the shots were coming from and sent the students back. Then a culinary arts teacher, Ashley Kurth, pulled Hogg and others inside, locked the door, and made them hide in a closet. Checking Twitter and Instagram, Hogg—who’s an editor at the school’s TV station—found the news that the shooting was real and ongoing.
The shots continued for what felt like an eternity. Hogg considered the possibility that he would not live to see the end of the day. “While I was in there, I thought, ‘What impact have I had? What will my story be if I die here?’” Hogg told TIME in the hours following the ordeal. “And the only thing I could think of was, pull out my camera and try telling others. As a student journalist, as an aspiring journalist, that’s all I could think: Get other people’s stories on tape. If we all die, the camera survives, and that’s how we get the message out there, about how we want change to be brought about.” These statements clearly indicate Hogg saying he was on campus when the gunfire began, and that he was hunkered down in a closet with other students hiding from the shooter. Now today, the CBS documentary “39 Days” includes interviews with Hogg and several other Stoneman Douglas students. The full nearly 45-minute long video (CBS has disabled embedding the video) can be viewed here and an article and partial transcript from the documentary on CBS’s website here, but the relevant section with Hogg starts around the 4:52 mark:
DAVID HOGG: On the day of the shooting, I got my camera and got on my bike and rode as fast as I could three miles from my house to the school to get as much video and to get as many interviews as I could because I knew that this could not be another mass shooting. [Somewhat ironically, the very next thing heard on the video is Emma Gonzalez saying, “What we’re doing is telling the truth.”] Something doesn’t add up here. If Hogg was at school when the shooting began, saying he heard gunshots and the fire alarm, then why is he talking about riding a bike three miles to get to school on the day of the shooting? I lived one mile from my high school, and rode my bike freshman year. I’m well aware of what it takes physically to ride that distance. Assuming Hogg was in very athletic shape, he may have been able to ride a bicycle around 15 mph or slightly faster. Stoneman Douglas High School is bordered by several major highways and roads, and I don’t know Hogg’s exact route, but he would have undoubtedly had some delays due to traffic and crossing those busy streets. Best case scenario, if Hogg were at home, left immediately once he heard the news, and had an adrenalin-fueled ride at his highest possible speed, it would still have taken him about 15 to 20 minutes or even longer to get to campus. So if Hogg was at home during the shooting, it’s highly unlikely he was able to get to school before it had been put on lockdown. As we all know now, the Broward Sheriff’s deputies did not enter the building where the shooting was taking place to intervene, but they did manage to lock down the campus fairly quickly. He certainly would not have been able to get there in time to hear the fire alarm go off. This does not make sense. It is not possible for him to have been in class and also have been at home, a three-mile bike ride away from campus. One of those stories is a lie. Hogg should explain himself, and quickly.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
This post has been updated.