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TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/23/18-Gov. Rick Scott talks about last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a news conference where he outlined his plan to keep students safe while at school Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO


Rick Scott calls for FDLE Parkland investigation, resists removing Broward Sheriff

Gov. Rick Scott is asking for an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the law enforcement response — namely the Broward County Sheriff’s office — into the last week’s Parkland school shooting.

Calls for an FDLE inquiry is in response to a push from state lawmakers for Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

The Governor is seeking further understanding of what happened when 17 people were killed Feb. 14 in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz — a 19-year-old former MSD student — is accused in the deaths.

Speaking to CNN this week, Israel said his department was looking into three deputies reported to be on the scene but failed to enter the school during the shooting. Israel said the investigation so far pointed to only one deputy — school resource officer Scot Peterson — being on campus while the killer was present.

While Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, joined by 73 members of his chamber, had sent a letter to Scott asking to suspend Israel over his agency’s response to the massacre, the Governor is insisting on conducting an independent FDLE investigation first.

Israel also responded to a letter from Republican state Rep. Bill Hager — chair of the House Appropriations Committee — which said the sheriff  “should have been aware of the thread Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it.”

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

“It is patently obvious that Hager has zero comprehension of law enforcement,” Israel wrote.

In a statement, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office responded to Scott’s request.

“BSO will fully cooperate with FDLE, as we believe in full transparency and accountability,” Israel said in a Twitter post. “This independent, outside review will ensure public confidence in the findings.”

The Sheriff’s Office is also facing accusations it mishandled some of the 18 tips called in about the suspected shooter. Those tips, and other alleged signs, demonstrate missed warnings about Cruz, who had a history of disturbing behavior, posed a considerable threat.

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