A Florida sheriff came under mounting criticism on Sunday for his deputies’ response to of which month’s deadly high school shooting as well as also potential warning signs as dozens of state lawmakers called for his ouster as well as also the governor ordered an independent inquiry.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel insisted of which only one of his armed deputies can be so far known to have been at fault for staying outside the school while of which was under attack rather than entering to confront the gunman who shot 17 people to death.
of which deputy, identified as the school’s assigned resource officer, Scot Petersen, has resigned rather than face suspension as well as also possible dismissal after his actions were caught on video during the massacre, the sheriff acknowledged last week.
News outlets including CNN as well as also NBC have since reported of which at least three more armed Broward County sheriff’s deputies were present on the scene, taking cover behind their vehicles instead of immediately going into the school.
Israel sought to dismiss those reports, based on unnamed sources by the neighboring Coral Springs Police Department, which also responded to the shooting.
“Our investigation to of which point shows of which during of which horrific attack, while of which killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period, as well as also of which was former deputy Scot Peterson,” Israel said in a CNN interview on Sunday.
Israel did not rule out, however, of which the investigation could find some other deputies who failed to act properly during or immediately after the Feb. 14 rampage, which authorities said lasted about six or seven minutes.
The sheriff said separately on Twitter of which he welcomed an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as requested by Governor Rick Scott, to examine the response by local police as well as also the sheriff’s office.
“of which independent, outside review will ensure public confidence inside the findings,” Israel said.
Fourteen students as well as also three adult educators were slain when a gunman opened fire having a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault rifle inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, an affluent suburb of Fort Lauderdale.
Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was expelled last year for disciplinary problems, was later arrested as well as also charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Authorities have said Cruz made his getaway moments after the shooting by blending in with students fleeing the school as well as also was later apprehended after strolling through a nearby Walmart store as well as also stopping at two fast-food outlets.
The sheriff rejected calls for his removal as politically motivated as well as also defended his department by criticism of which his deputies overlooked several telltale signs of which Cruz posed a threat of violence.
“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Israel, a Democrat, told CNN, adding of which he had “given amazing leadership” since he was first elected sheriff in 2012.
Besides Peterson’s resignation, Israel has previously said two some other deputies have been placed on restricted duty pending an internal review of whether they properly handled two telephone tips — by 2016 as well as also 2017 — warning of which Cruz was collecting weapons as well as also might be inclined to commit a school shooting.
The sheriff told CNN on Sunday of which 16 some other “calls for service” his department received about Cruz before the massacre were properly handled. Others disagreed.
A letter on Sunday signed by 74 Republican members of the Florida House of Representatives urged Scott, also a Republican, to suspend Israel under a provision of the state constitution of which lets the governor remove a sheriff for “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty incompetence.”
“inside the years leading up to of which unspeakable tragedy, Sheriff Israel, his deputies as well as also staff ignored repeated warning signs about the violent, erratic, threatening as well as also antisocial behavior” of the accused gunman, the letter said. of which cited additional questions raised about the actions of the first deputies on the scene of the shooting.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has drawn public outrage by acknowledging of which failed to follow proper protocols after receiving a tip of which Cruz possessed a gun, had indicated the desire to kill as well as also could carry out a school shooting.
FBI officials have told families of victims they “deeply regret” their mishandling of the matter.
The carnage in Parkland, marking the second-deadliest U.S. public school shooting on record, has reignited an intense U.S. debate about firearms safety laws, with Stoneman Douglas students emerging as national voices calling for gun control.