Students, Teachers Return to Florida High School
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the law enforcement response after a deadly school shooting in Florida (all times local):
Thousands of students and their parents are returning to a Florida high school to find out what will happen when they return to school on Wednesday.
The meeting Sunday with teachers and administrators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is expected to last a couple of hours.
Junior Sebastian Pena said before going in that he was looking forward to seeing his friends and teachers again.
The school has been closed since Feb. 14, when authorities say former student Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members.
Parent Joel Fuller, whose daughter is a junior at the school, expects students will be given plenty of time to talk about what happened and embrace each other.
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and 73 other state lawmakers have asked Gov. Rick Scott to suspend a sheriff for incompetence and neglect of duty in the aftermath of this month’s high school massacre.
In a letter sent Sunday, Corcoran wrote that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel “failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance, and thoroughness among his deputies.”
Corcoran says that “a result of Sheriff Israel’s failures, students and teachers died.”
Israel is being scrutinized for his office’s actions leading up to and during the Feb. 14 shooting that resulted in 17 deaths in Parkland, Florida. Israel has said he will not resign.
Corcoran says the sheriff’s office ignored signs about the shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz reported in more than a dozen tipster calls. He also said he did not properly train Scot Peterson, an armed sheriff deputy who was assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the shooting. Peterson stayed outside the school instead of confronting the shooter.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says that he ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen to investigate the law enforcement response to the shooting.
Scott’s office confirmed on Sunday the commissioner will immediately launch a probe.
Israel is facing backlash because of the missed red flags leading up to the Valentine’s Day attack that left 17 people dead. He has vowed not to resign, saying he has shown “amazing leadership.”
Israel said on Sunday that a deputy who responded to a Nov. 30 call referring to Cruz as a “school shooter in the making” was being investigated by internal affairs for not filing a report. The employee was placed on restrictive duty.
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that critics shouldn’t blame her organization, gun owners or semi-automatic weapons for the shooting. She says the blame is on the shooting suspect for his own actions and the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for failing to stop him despite warnings that he was a potential school shooter.
Loesch told Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the “firearm did not walk itself into the school. …The Broward County Sheriff’s Office allowed that firearm to go into that school.”
The FBI has acknowledged that it failed to investigate the tip about suspect Nikolas Cruz that the agency received on Jan. 5. Sheriff Israel says his office is investigating why a deputy did not file a report after a November call that referred to Cruz as a “school shooter in the making.”
A Florida sheriff has defended his leadership in the aftermath of a school shooting while insisting that only one of his deputies was on the scene as the gunman killed 14 students and three staff members.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has told CNN that investigators are looking into claims that three other deputies were on the scene but failed to enter the school when the chance to save lives still existed. He said Sunday that so far the investigation has pointed to only one deputy being on campus while the killer was present.
Israel labels as “absolutely untrue” reports that the deputies waited outside even though children were inside the building needing urgent medical treatment.
Israel and the sheriff’s office have come under scrutiny after last week’s revelation that deputy Scot Peterson did not go in to confront suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz during the Valentine’s Day attack. It is also facing backlash for apparently mishandling some of the 18 tipster calls related to the suspected shooter.