Posts Tagged ‘Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’

Florida school shooting survivor rejects ‘hero’ label — Accuses Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and schools superintendent Robert Runcie of failing the killed and wounded

April 7, 2018

AFP

© AFP | Anthony Borges, 15, was shot in both legs and the back by Nikolas Cruz, who opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018
MIAMI (AFP) – A survivor of the Florida school shooting nicknamed “Iron Man” for his efforts to save classmates said he did not want to be labeled a “hero,” as his family announced a lawsuit against authorities.

Anthony Borges, 15, was shot in both legs and the back by Nikolas Cruz, who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14.

Despite his injuries, the teenager managed to shut a door, preventing the shooter from entering the room where around 20 students were hiding. In doing so, he was shot twice more.

“I don’t know why I survived, but I will tell you that my family and I will dedicate the rest of our lives to seeing that something like this this never happens again,” Anthony said in a statement via his lawyer, Alex Arreaza.

Anthony, joined by Arreaza, his father Royer Borges, his grandfather Alfredo and friend Carlos Rodriguez on Friday took part in a press conference in Plantation, north of Miami.

He entered in a wheelchair, and still recovering after nine surgeries and seven weeks in hospital, did not want to speak.

“I know I’m being called ‘Iron Man.’ I am not,” he said in the statement. “I am a 15-year-old who was shot five times.

“I’m just a kid who wants to go back to school without being afraid.”

Borges also accused Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and schools superintendent Robert Runcie of failing him, as they were unable to prevent Cruz from buying firearms and entering the school despite his erratic behavior.

“You know he was a problem and you did nothing,” he said.

Arreaza, who had already announced the lawsuit against Israel and Runcie, said he would file “today or tomorrow” against them, Nikolas Cruz and the executors of Cruz’s mother’s estate.

“They damaged my son’s soccer career,” Royer Borges said, alleging it took 38 minutes for authorities to get to his son after he was shot.

The Borges family left Venezuela more than 15 years ago over political instability and fears over rampant crime.

“While we appreciate the efforts in Washington DC, Venezuela is a place where they have gorgeous marches with millions of people and nothing gets done,” Arreaza said, referencing the March For Our Lives in March.

“(The family has) decided that they’re going to put their faith in American justice system.”

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Despite Heightened Fear Of School Shootings, It’s Not A Growing Epidemic (NPR)

https://www.npr.org/2018/03/15/593831564/the-disconnect-between-perceived-danger-in-u-s-schools-and-reality

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  (Then he met with the NRA…)

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Broward County sheriff out of public eye while BSO missteps mount in Parkland — “Israel needs to own his mistakes or risk losing the agency altogether.”

March 23, 2018

Scott Israel made apparent false claim in letter to Gov. Rick Scott

By Bob Norman – Investigative Reporter

PARKLAND, Fla. – After the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel didn’t shy away from cameras, leading news conference after news conference and even going on national television for a CNN town hall meeting on gun control.

But as Israel played to the nation, it remained a secret that his own deputies failed to enter the school to stop shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Image result for scott Israel, photos

Details were also missing on the agency’s lack of follow-up to disturbing complaints about Cruz made to BSO prior to the shooting that portended the tragedy to come.

When that information came out late last month, outrage and scorn was aimed at Israel, and the sheriff has dodged the media since, even as Parkland remains on edge after the shooter’s brother was able to bypass deputies to trespass at Douglas and another deputy, Moises Carotti, was allegedly found sleeping on duty there this week.

The safety concerns of the community created such a crisis of confidence that Gov. Rick Scott is placing Florida Highway Patrol troopers at the school and Broward Commissioner Michael Udine is calling for Israel to put his command staff in Parkland to try to figure out what is going wrong with the BSO there.

BSO Deputy Jeff Bell, the union chief, said Israel needs to own his mistakes or risk losing the agency altogether.

“As a leader of an agency, you always take responsibility for the good and the bad,” Bell said, adding that the rank-and-file is considering a no-confidence vote against the sheriff.

Bell pointed out that Israel did himself no good in one of his last interviews on CNN, when he not only refused to take responsibility for BSO’s failures, but also patted himself on the back, comparing himself to a general and claiming he’s given the agency “amazing leadership.”

“He took a tremendous beating from the public from that,” Bell said.

During that same interview, Israel claimed that only one deputy, the school resource officer, Scot Peterson, was at the school while bullets were flying. But records since released by BSO prove that at least three other deputies were there, two of them reporting on radio transmissions that they were hearing the shots.

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More significantly, Israel also made that same apparently false claim in a letter to Scott, writing in all bold, “Only one law enforcement officer was ever on the campus — at any time — during the attack.”

“Certainly, he had some bad information that day,” Bell said.

Israel made the errant claim in response to State Rep. Bill Hager’s allegations in a letter calling for Scott to remove Israel from office for neglect of duty and incompetence.

A total of 73 state representatives, all Republican, also called for Israel’s ouster in another letter written by Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

BSO sources said Israel is saying behind the scenes that he’s not going anywhere and even if Scott removes him from office, he’ll run again in 2020.

“To gain that confidence back, you have to admit that there have been faults,” Bell said.

But Bell said it’s too late for an apology from Israel at this point.

So can Israel ever gain back the trust of the public and his own deputies?

“Time will tell,” Bell said. “We’ll see how this wound heals.”

https://www.local10.com/news/parkland-school-shooting/broward-county-sheriff-out-of-public-eye-while-bso-missteps-mount-in-parkland-

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 by WPLG Local10.com –

As Broward sheriff touts ‘amazing leadership,’ a low grumble builds in the ranks

March 1, 2018

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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks before the start of a CNN town hall meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Michael Laughlin TNS

February 28, 2018 08:03 PM

Updated 5 hours ago

Florida school shooting is the result of a failure of government — law enforcement failed

February 28, 2018

By Michael Goodwin
The New York Post

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Scott Israel, AP

It is said that in war, truth is the first casualty. Something similar happens on our political battlegrounds as well, where truth, if it survives, is usually a heavy underdog.

So it was in the aftermath of the Florida high-school slaughter, where gun-control advocates mounted their hobby horses before the bodies were collected. They were sure that, this time, they would crush the NRA bogeyman and get what they wanted.

Leave aside that what many activists wanted — confiscation of tens of millions of existing, lawful guns — is practically and legally impossible. They nonetheless dominated early media coverage because they have honed their good-vs.-evil narrative and because most of the media live in gun control’s amen corner.

Yet an odd thing happened on the way to their triumph. After a late start, a greater truth of the Florida slaughter is now dominating the discussion and setting the agenda.

This greater truth is that there were many chances to stop gunman Nikolas Cruz long before he opened fire. Equally important, the claim from some in Florida law enforcement that they are legally handcuffed until someone commits an act of violence turns out to be false.

These emerging facts are wreaking havoc with the initial simplistic narratives and are changing how Americans view the shooting and what measures they think would be more successful in preventing other massacres. In effect, the Florida story is changing before our eyes.

One result is that an early star of the gun-control faction, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, is morphing into a villain. His department’s repeated failure to intervene in the violently downward spiral of the gunman was bad enough, but the refusal of his deputies to enter the school until the shooting stopped is a stain that Israel’s TV-ready bravado can never remove. There will be little lamenting when he loses his job.

As the nation has learned, Cruz was a well-known danger to neighbors, school officials, social workers and law enforcement. He threatened to kill classmates — in writing — and was expelled.

Yet even as his behavior grew more menacing and Broward cops visited his house dozens of times, officers believed there was nothing they could do. But as The Miami Herald detailed, they were wrong.

It cites former prosecutors who say Cruz’s threats to his classmates could be classified as aggravated cyberstalking, a felony. There is also a state law against making written threats to kill.

Moreover, being charged with aggravated cyberstalking could have cost Cruz the gun he used in the shooting. The Herald says that posting bond in Broward County on a felony charge would have required him to surrender all guns.

The FBI missed its chances to stop Cruz, too. Last September, he wrote, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter” on a YouTube channel, and it was reported to the FBI, which dropped the ball instead of treating the comment as a threat of terrorism, a felony.

Then in January, an unidentified woman warned the FBI that Cruz “would get into a school and just shoot the place up,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I know he’s — he’s going to explode,” the caller said, according to a transcript the Journal saw.

Again the agency did nothing, which prompted Director Christopher Wray to apologize to grieving families and promise an investigation.

The changing media coverage is changing public views. A Rasmussen survey released Tuesday reports that 54 percent of respondents believe the failure of government to respond to warnings about Cruz is more to blame for the murders than inadequate gun control, while just 33 percent view it the other way around.

Thankfully, New York already has exhibited a growing awareness of the danger. Last Friday, the NYPD arrested an employee from the Bryant Park skating rink who made social-media threats against the Midtown spot, The Post reports.

Emmanuel Nival, 17, boasted of an attack coming on March 4 on Instagram, and his boss alerted cops, who say the teen confessed to a charge of aggravated harassment.

Albany is getting in on the action, too, with supporters pushing a “red flag law.” It would allow police and family members to get an “extreme-risk protection order” in court against someone seen as a danger to others or themselves.

As state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in urging passage, “We have an opportunity to ensure that, when the next potential Nikolas Cruz exhibits clear red flags, that individual can be disarmed before another tragedy.”

Five states already have similar laws, and as many as 20 others are considering them. In general, the laws contain an appeals process for the targeted individual.

This strikes me as the right direction for the country. While some national gun-control measures are appealing, such as raising the legal age to 21 for certain guns, the most direct path to public safety is for local officials to take action against individuals who threaten violence and pose an immediate danger.

Had that happened in Florida, Nikolas Cruz would not have had a gun of any kind, and his 17 victims would be alive.

https://nypost.com/2018/02/27/florida-school-shooting-is-the-result-of-law-enforcement-failing-us/

The First Day of School After Florida Shooting

February 28, 2018

Students voice fear and relief; ‘I’ll see the empty desks of the people I used to sit next to’

Volunteers hang banners around the perimeter of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to welcome back students who will be returning to school Wednesday.
Volunteers hang banners around the perimeter of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to welcome back students who will be returning to school Wednesday. PHOTO: SUSAN STOCKER/ZUMA PRESS

For the first time since a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school two weeks ago, students and teachers were set to return to the classroom Wednesday morning, voicing both fear and relief to be back.

Outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a makeshift memorial overflowed with flowers, balloons and American flags. Posters vowing “#NeverAgain” and banners sent by schools and organizations around the U.S. adorned fences.

On campus, Building 12—where the attack unfolded—sat silent, locked down and fenced off.

“I’m a little scared going back,” said Diego Pfeiffer, an 18-year-old senior. “I’ll see the empty desks of the people I used to sit next to” who died, including a friend in his literature class. “But I’m also excited to go back because that community really understands what I’m going through,” he added. “So it’s the worst place to be, but the best place to heal.”

After two emotionally grueling weeks marked by a succession of funerals, rallies calling for tighter gun restrictions and near-daily revelations about the ample warning signs involving the accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, students at Stoneman Douglas are beginning a long, complicated process of recovery.

“It’s a week of transition, a week of folks coming together, reconnecting and going through the healing process,” said Robert Runcie, the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, ahead of Stoneman Douglas’s reopening.

Parents and students arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Sunday for the start of what officials are calling a “phased reopening” of the school.CreditDavid Santiago/Miami Herald, via Associated Press

The school schedule this week will be shortened, with classes running only from 7:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. The focus won’t be on classwork, but rather on talking and comforting. Counselors and other support services will be available for those in need.

In preparation for the return to class, facilities workers power-washed the school, performed repairs and replaced broken glass. They developed a temporary-relocation plan for classes previously housed in Building 12, which the district is considering leveling.

To increase security on campus, some school resource officers will be armed with rifles, a decision announced last week by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Mr. Runcie described it as an interim move and said the county school board would hold discussions with the community about how best to approach the issue in the future.

Austin Jay, an 18-year-old senior, said he remains worried about security. “I don’t feel necessarily safe there,” he said. “I am not ready to go back to school yet.”

But, he added, he is returning to class in the hopes of gradually recovering some sense of normalcy. “I think it’s better to get back into the rhythm of it, integrate yourself to it rather than hiding from it,” he said.

The school district had already opened Stoneman Douglas to staff on Friday and held an orientation for students and parents on Sunday. That day, students could retrieve backpacks and belongings left behind the day of the shooting. Some played with comfort dogs brought in for emotional support.  A long line formed of students waiting to hug Ty Thompson, the school’s principal.

“There was such a strong sense of community,” said Sheryl Acquaroli, a 16-year-old junior who attended. “I was happy to be back, but it was also kind of scary.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of classes, Ms. Acquaroli said she was bracing for a flood of emotions. “I’m preparing myself mentally for the amount of crying that I’m going to do,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be very overwhelming…I’m glad they’re slowly easing us back into it.”

Write to Arian Campo-Flores at arian.campo-flores@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-first-day-of-school-after-florida-shooting-1519813800

Hearing for Florida shooting suspect case canceled

February 27, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — A Tuesday morning hearing in the criminal case against the suspect accused in the Florida high school shooting has been canceled.

Prosecutors are seeking to obtain hair samples, fingerprints, DNA and photographs of Nikolas Cruz, 19. The hearing was removed from the court docket and no explanation was immediately available.

Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder, was not expected to appear in court because he waived his right to attend the hearing. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail.

In a separate court matter, Cruz’s lawyers are seeking to disqualify a judge from presiding over the case. The defense says in court papers that Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Scherer is biased in favor of prosecutors, threatening Cruz’s right to a fair trial.

Cruz signed an affidavit in a barely legible printed scrawl that resembled the writing of a young child.

As the case moves through the courts, it has fueled a debate over gun control in the halls of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, hours from where the shooting took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

President Donald Trump says he doesn’t want all teachers to carry guns – just those who have a “natural talent.” (Feb. 26)

On Monday, a state Senate committee approved a bill Monday to raise the age for buying a gun from 18 to 21 and imposing a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The bill would also allow teachers to carry guns in schools if their school district approves and the teachers undergo law enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff’s office.

About 300 gun safety advocates packed the room and dozens pleaded with senators to include an assault weapons ban in the bill. That idea was rejected on a 6-7 vote.

Stoneman Douglas students Katherine Guerra and Bela Urbina, both 15, stood together to argue for a ban on assault-style rifles.

“This weapon has killed so many people. It is a militarized weapon that we don’t need. We don’t need civilians to have it,” Urbina said.

In reference to hunting, Guerra added, “Do you think that your sport is more important than human lives? And if you believe that, you need to reassess yourselves.” The students received thunderous applause.

A similar House bill was going to be considered by a committee Tuesday.

Bused in from around the state, protesters wore orange T-shirts saying #GunReformNow. One held a sign with an image from the movie “The Sixth Sense,” with the words “I SEE DEAD PEOPLE … THANKS TO THE GOP AND NRA.” Another said “Hey Lawmakers! Take the Pledge. No NRA Money.”

Students are scheduled to return to school Wednesday, for the first time since the Feb. 14 shooting.

The Florida House is expected to subpoena records from Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and several agencies that interacted with Cruz. Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the police response, and the agency confirmed it would begin the probe immediately.

Also Monday, the attorney for the sheriff’s deputy assigned to guard the high school said that his client never entered the building to confront the suspect because he believed the gunfire was coming from outside.

Scot Peterson has been called a coward and worse for failing to stop the massacre. The criticism intensified as President Donald Trump blasted the deputy and other officers who were there, saying they “weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners.”

Peterson’s attorney issued his first public statement about the attack, saying it was “patently untrue” that the deputy failed to meet sheriff’s department standards or acted with cowardice at the scene of the Feb. 14 assault. He resigned after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he felt sick to his stomach over his deputy’s failure to intervene.

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Associated Press writers Freida Frisaro and Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida; Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida; and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; contributed to this report.

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Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting .

Broward County Sheriff Israel says he got 23 calls about shooter’s family — CNN says more like 45 — Many with no written report

February 27, 2018

Sheriff says he got 23 calls about shooter’s family, but records show more

Washington (CNN)  As critics have taken aim at law enforcement for missing warning signs about South Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz, public records have emerged that conflict with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s statements about the number of times deputies were dispatched to the shooter’s home.

Records obtained from the sheriff’s office by CNN show the law enforcement agency received at least 45 calls for service relating to Cruz or his brother from 2008 to 2017, before the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. The sheriff’s office has insisted it received no more than 23 calls for service regarding Cruz or his family.
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CNN has repeatedly asked the sheriff’s office to explain the discrepancy, sending emails and attempting to reach an agency representative by phone. The agency has not responded to those requests with an explanation.
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On Feb. 15, CNN received a Broward County Sheriff’s Office log based on a public records request showing 39 calls from Cruz’s house over a six-year period. During CNN’s town hall on the Parkland school shooting last Wednesday, NRA representative Dana Loesch confronted Sheriff Israel about those 39 calls, though she inaccurately described them as being 39 visits from police in one year.
Sheriff Scott Israel defended his office's actions to NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at CNN's town hall: "I'm calling BS"
Sheriff Scott Israel defended his office’s actions to NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch at CNN’s town hall: “I’m calling BS” 02:02
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The next day, at a press conference in the wake of growing public criticism, Israel said his agency “has been involved in 23 type calls involving the killer in some way, shape or form — or his brother.”
On Saturday, the sheriff’s office reiterated that lower figure, releasing this public statement: “Since 2008, BSO responded to 23 incidents where previous contact was made with the killer or his family. STOP REPORTING 39; IT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE.” That day, he made the same claim in a letter to the governor.
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However, based on logs of the original calls and additional records since obtained from the agency, CNN has found that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office actually received 45 calls in the past decade related to the Cruz home, Nikolas Cruz or his brother — even more than previously thought.
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The documents in question include call logs from the law enforcement agency’s “computer aided dispatch” system. The records list police calls from the home at 6166 Northwest 80th Terrace in Parkland, Florida, which was the home owned by Nikolas Cruz’s mother during that time period, according to property deeds.
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Each listed police call has a unique identifying number, dispatch date and time, and description. The descriptions include mentions of a “mentally ill person,” “child/elderly abuse,” “domestic disturbance,” “missing person,” and more. The vast majority of the calls resulted in “no written report.”
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A CNN review of the records shows that at least 19 calls relate to Nikolas Cruz, starting when he was as young as 9 years old. An additional 25 calls regarded only his younger brother, Zachary, for behavior ranging from running away to hitting his mother. A final one is ambiguous about which boy it involves.
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Several calls involving Nikolas were not cited on an original list of 39 calls related to the Cruz home, but were detailed in a separate document released by the sheriff’s office last week. One of the original calls turned out to involve a neighbor.
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Calls relating to Nikolas Cruz include descriptions of fights with his brother, cursing at his mother, and throwing her against the wall for taking away his Xbox. The issues brought to the sheriff’s attention worsen over time. In 2014, someone accused him of shooting a chicken with a BB gun.
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Records show that in 2016, a neighbor warned the sheriff’s office of an Instagram post in which Cruz said he “planned to shoot up the school.” This week, Joelle Guarino told CNN she placed the 911 call and had begged the sheriff’s office to intervene. She was told there was nothing deputies could do until Cruz actually did something, she said.
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Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to campus on Feb. 25 for the first time since the shooting that killed 17 people on Feb. 14.

Later that year, an unidentified peer counselor alerted the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s school resource deputy that Cruz “possibly” drank gasoline “in an attempt to commit suicide,” was “cutting himself,” and “wished to purchase a gun.” An investigator with Florida’s Department of Children and Families spoke to Cruz, but his therapist ultimately advised that he was “not currently a threat to himself or others” and did not need to be committed.
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On November 1, the day his mother died, Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call from Lynda Cruz’s cousin, who warned deputies that Cruz had rifles and pleaded for them to “recover these weapons.” On November 30, the sheriff’s office received a call from a tipster in Massachusetts who warned them Cruz was “collecting guns and knives,” and “could be a school shooter in the making.” Records show the deputy “referred caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office,” which had jurisdiction over Cruz’s temporary home with a family friend. Within days, Cruz was back south in Broward County staying with another friend’s family.
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On Sunday morning, Sheriff Israel appeared on CNN’s State of the Union program. Anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper asked Israel if he takes “any responsibility for the multiple red flags” that were brought to the agency’s attention.
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“Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I have given amazing leadership to this agency,” Israel replied.
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Since the attack, which killed 17, there have been multiple calls for the sheriff, a Democrat, to resign from his elected post. On Saturday, Florida State Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton) urged the governor to relieve Israel for “gross incompetence.” On Sunday, Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’Lakes), wrote a letter to the governor citing the department’s “failures to intervene” with Nikolas Cruz that are “unacceptable and unforgivable.”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/27/us/parkland-shooter-cruz-sheriff-calls-invs/index.html

Trump Tells Governors He, NRA ‘Want To Do Something’ About Gun Violence And School Safety

February 26, 2018

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump said he had a weekend lunch with key leaders of the National Rifle Association and all agreed they “want to do something” to address gun violence and school safety.

Trump is meeting with the nation’s governors Monday and says the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school is the top issue he wants to discuss.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is attending the meeting, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not.

Under pressure to act to stem gun violence on school grounds, Trump planned to solicit input from the state chief executives during meetings Monday at the White House. The governors are in Washington for their annual winter meeting.

Trump told the governors there is “no bigger fan of the Second Amendment than me,” but there’s a need to boost background checks and ensure that a “sicko” is unable to get a gun.

Seventeen students and teachers were killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, sparking a public outcry for new gun-control measures as well as action to improve school safety.

Trump has proposed toughening background checks, increasing mental health services and raising the age to buy most guns to 21. The NRA opposes raising the minimum age to buy a gun.

The president has also called for arming teachers, which will be heavily debated on Capitol Hill this week as Congress gets back to work.

“We’ll be talking about Parkland and the horrible event that took place last week,” Trump said as he hosted the governors for an annual black-tie ball Sunday. “That will be one of the subjects. We’ll make it first on our list.”

Greeted by a sprawling memorial on Sunday, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to school for the first time since the shooting to pick up belongings left behind in panic.

“I’m scared to come back, but I know through this our school will be safer,” said senior Mikayla Stravitz.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office said he had asked Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen to investigate the law enforcement response to the shooting. The agency confirmed it would begin the probe immediately.

Some state Republican lawmakers are also asking Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to resign, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.

Israel has come under withering scrutiny after the revelation last week that deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s assigned security officer, was nearby when the shooting began but did not go into the building to confront Cruz during the attack. The sheriff’s office is also facing a backlash for apparently mishandling some of the 18 tipster calls related to the suspected shooter.

Israel defended his leadership Sunday and said investigators were 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 to date, the investigation has pointed to only one deputy being on school grounds while the suspect was present.

“While this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person — period — and that was our former deputy Scott Peterson,” Israel told CNN.

Israel also labeled as “absolutely untrue” reports that the deputies waited outside even though children were inside the building needing urgent medical treatment.

Trump’s session with the governors Monday will be the latest in which he solicits ideas for stopping gun violence at schools as the White House works to finalize an expected legislative proposal.

The president spent several days last week hearing emotional pleas from parents and students, including some who survived the Parkland shooting, and others who suffered through school shootings in Connecticut and Colorado. He also solicited input from state and local officials.

Trump has floated numerous ideas since the shooting, including raising the minimum age for the purchase of assault-style weapons, improving background checks for gun purchases, arming educators and paying them bonuses, and re-opening mental institutions.

“I think we’re going to have a great bill put forward very soon having to do with background checks, having to do with getting rid of certain things and keeping other things, and perhaps we’ll do something on age, because it doesn’t seem to make sense that you have to wait until you are 21 years old to get a pistol, but to get a gun like this maniac used in the school, you get that at 18,” Trump said during a late Saturday telephone interview with Fox News Channel. “That doesn’t make sense.”

The National Rifle Association, which backed Trump for president, opposes increasing the minimum age for assault-style weapons purchases but favors arming teachers.

“This is really a discussion about banning all semi-automatic firearms and I wish that we could be genuine in our discussion of that,” said NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch . “That’s the position on AR-15 and AR-15s are going to be in that school protecting students and teachers when they return back to class.”

Members of Congress also return to work Monday and will likely address the shooting, but will not be voting on any gun control measures.

Includes more video:

Trump Tells Governors ‘We’ll Turn Our Grief Into Action’ On School Safety

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In a White House meeting with the nation’s Governors, President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated his call for legislative action by the Congress on matters related to gun violence, saying he had told leaders of the National Rifle Association that “we need to do something,” as he pressed Congress and the states to do their part to prevent future school shootings.

“We’ve got to do background checks,” the President said, once more emphasizing closer checks dealing with mental illness. “If we see a sicko, I don’t want him having a gun.”

Mr. Trump said he had already been lobbying leaders of the National Rifle Association to help with changes related to gun violence, telling the Governors he had lunch with NRA leaders over the weekend.

“Don’t worry about the NRA,” the President said in a meeting in the East Room. “They’re on our side.”

Trump says the NRA wants to “do something” in the wake of the Florida school shooting

“We continue to mourn the loss of so many young lives,” Mr. Trump said, “but we’ll turn our grief into action,” as the President said too often there is a mass shooting – and no answers.

“A week goes, by let’s keep talking,” the President said. “Two months go by, and we’re on the next subject.”

As he has since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida earlier this month, the President again endorsed action on a series of matters, including having certain teachers and administrators carry concealed weapons, banning devices like ‘bump stocks’ which make semi-automatic weapons fire faster, and ensuring that more information gets into the federal background check system for gun buyers.

While the Governors and the President engaged in a back and forth about school safety, there was one interesting moment as the Governor of Washington, Democrat Jay Inslee, directly challenged the President’s idea of arming certain teachers and school administrators.

WATCH: Exchange between President Trump and @GovInslee (D-WA) on arming teachers concludes: “We need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening.” http://cs.pn/2sXnjCj 

“I just suggest we need a little less tweeting right now and a little more listening,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, as he gave the back of the hand to the President’s idea of having teachers carry concealed weapons.

While the President talked about having action, down Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill, there is no sense of imminent action on guns, which has always been a politically difficult matter to consider in the House and Senate, no matter what party is in charge.

The last gun-related measure to pass was a bill in the House that combined a plan to make changes in the instant check system related to mental health concerns – but that was combined with a bill that forces states to honor concealed carry permits issued in another state.

For now, that combo bill seems to have no future in the Senate.

Speaker Ryan and President Trump spoke again on the phone this weekend about guns. The House is waiting for the Senate to take the next steps on this since House already passed a fix NICS/concealed carry bill

In his meeting with the Governors, the President also again weighed in on the school security aide who waited outside, and did not confront the school gunman.

“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” the President told Governors, saying he thought the officer’s failure to act was ‘disgusting.’

Trump on the Parkland school shooting: “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too”

“He choked,” the President said. “A lot of people choked in that case.”

Trump tells Governors it’s time for action on guns, says officers in Florida shooting “choked” in school shooting response

School Shooting: Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel “needs to go and needs to go now.”

February 26, 2018

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On Fox and Friends this morning, former Secret Service agent and NYPD officer Dan Bongino said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel “needs to go and needs to go now.”

He said the many missed calls warning the Sheriff’s Office of eventual school shooter Nikolas Cruz in the months before the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida plus his departments’ much criticized response  to the shooting itself means “Israel can no longer credibly lead the Sheriff’s Office.”

Related:

Florida lawmakers call for suspension of Broward sheriff after Parkland massacre as he defends ‘amazing leadership’

February 26, 2018


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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks during a news conference on Feb. 15, 2018, near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland where 17 people were killed the day before. (Amy Beth Bennett / Sun-Sentinel)

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Drew Harwell and Mark Berman
Washington Post
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Republican state lawmakers in Florida called on Sunday for the suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, accusing him of “incompetence and neglect of duty” in the months before the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and 73 Republican colleagues urged Gov. Rick Scott, R, to suspend Israel, a Democrat who was reelected in 2016.

“Sheriff Israel failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance and thoroughness amongst his deputies,” Corcoran wrote in a letter released Sunday. “As a result of Sheriff Israel’s failures, students and teachers died.”

Israel said he would not resign over his agency’s handling of the shooting, which left 17 dead, mostly teenagers.

Before the letter’s release, Israel said that the agency had stumbled in its handling of red flags about the suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, including at least two warnings that he could carry out such an attack. But Israel said that he should not be held personally responsible.

“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” he said Sunday morning in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.”

The sheriff has faced intensifying questions about his office’s response to the massacre after the revelation that an armed deputy on the scene did not enter the school while the shooter was inside. That deputy, Scot Peterson, retired last week after being suspended.

Israel said he believes Peterson’s inactions could have cost lives, but he also has said that he should not be faulted for Peterson’s actions.

“You don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going in,” he said in the Sunday CNN interview.

State Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton) sent a letter to Scott, the governor, on Saturday accusing Israel of “neglect and incompetence” and calling for his removal. Israel called the letter “shameful” and “politically motivated.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Sunday afternoon that it would launch an investigation, at the governor’s request, into the law-enforcement response to the shooting.

In a statement, Israel said his office would fully cooperate with the investigation, “as we believe in full transparency and accountability.”

“This independent, outside review will ensure public confidence in the findings,” he said.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” accused the sheriff’s office of “dereliction of duty” and said Israel should face increased scrutiny.

Sheriff: Armed deputy on duty at Florida high school never entered building during massacre

“I wish that as much attention were given to the Broward County sheriff and their abdication of duty as trying to blame 5 million innocent law-abiding gun owners all across the country for this,” Loesch said. “Families and neighbors called the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to report this individual, and they did not follow up.”

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Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) speak to the media on Feb. 15 about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

David Hogg, a senior at the school, called Israel “a good man” during an interview on “This Week” and said that “he cares about the people.” But Hogg said there were breakdowns in procedures. “Were there mistakes made? Absolutely.”

Local and federal authorities received numerous calls about Cruz before the attack, including at least four suggesting that he could carry out a school shooting and a 911 call saying he had pointed a gun at someone.

The FBI has admitted that it never investigated a January tip saying that Cruz could shoot up a school.

In November 2017, a tip came in to the Broward sheriff’s office from a caller warning that Cruz was collecting guns and knives and might be “a school shooter in the making.” Cruz’s mother had died that month, and he was briefly living with a family in Palm Beach County.

The sheriff’s office said that the deputy who took the call never filed a report and that after the massacre, he told investigators that he referred the caller to the sheriff’s office in Palm Beach. However, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office told The Washington Post that it had no record of receiving word of that threat.

Israel said Sunday that most of the tips to his agency were handled appropriately but that, in two of the calls, “we’re not sure if deputies did everything they could have or should have.”

When CNN host Jake Tapper asked Israel if he thought the shooting might not have happened if the agency had done things differently, Israel said, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.”

He added, “We understand everything wasn’t done perfectly.”

According to a CNN report, police from the neighboring city of Coral Springs have said that three other Broward deputies besides Peterson were outside the school when they responded to the shooting. Israel said Sunday that only Peterson, then the school resource officer, was at the school during the shooting.

A spokeswoman for Israel’s office, in a statement released late Saturday, insisted that there was “no confirmation, at this time, other deputies did not enter the school when they should have.”

She said the claim continues to be investigated.

The Coral Springs police said in a statement that they were “aware of media reports” but were not going to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, it has become widely accepted police protocol to respond to active shooters by rushing to the scene and stopping the threat. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to a request to release its active-shooter policies, but Israel has said that the deputy should have rushed inside.

In a letter to Scott responding to Hager’s call for the sheriff to be removed from office, Israel wrote that Coral Springs police received the initial 911 call and went inside the school first without realizing that the shooter had left four minutes earlier, suggesting that these officers believed they were pursuing at least one armed attacker.

In his letter, Israel wrote that these Coral Springs officers were followed by others from that department and Broward sheriff’s deputies. However, his letter does not say when any of the responding officers learned that the gunfire had ended and the shooter had fled, nor does it say whether his deputies waited outside the school first before going in.

Israel’s office has declined to make him available for an interview with The Washington Post. His interview Sunday on CNN was his second appearance on the cable network in less than a week. On Wednesday, he participated in a televised town hall that the network hosted in South Florida that included survivors of the attack, their relatives and Loesch, the NRA spokeswoman.

At the town hall, the sheriff was sharply critical of the NRA spokeswoman.

Tapper, who also had hosted the town hall, asked Israel in the interview Sunday whether he had known during his town hall appearance that Peterson had failed to go inside the school during the shooting. Israel said that they were still investigating reports about Peterson at the time and that it was not the appropriate time to tell the families about the deputy’s actions.

“I couldn’t disclose it then,” he said. “That’s not the way you do things, over a news camera. You do it individually. You meet privately with families. You have compassion. You don’t do it at a public forum. And we weren’t ready to do it anyway.”

The Washington Post’s Lori Rozsa in Loxahatchee, Florida, and Michael Scherer, Kevin Sullivan and John Wagner in Washington contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/02/25/sheriff-facing-questions-about-school-shooting-response-says-he-has-given-amazing-leadership/?utm_term=.92ca69941f1b

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