On Sunday, the Broward County sheriff said that only one deputy of the sheriff was not able to stop the gunman who executed 17 people at a mass shooting at a high school in Florida, dismissing the reports that other deputies failed to enter the school during the said attack.
Scott Israel, the Broward County Sheriff, also said that his department properly acted in at least 16 of the 18 calls that it has received before the massacre, warning that the 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was dangerous.
Israel refused a call for his resignation from a state legislator and on Sunday, he defended his department on “State of the Union,” a CNN program, from criticism that his deputies missed the warning signs regarding Cruz. The suspect is a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Authorities said that Nikolas Cruz opened fire using an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on the 14th of February killing three faculty members and 14 students.
The shooting urged an intense debate regarding laws on gun safety, with students of Stoneman emerging as national voices calling for gun control. They have summoned a politically powerful defender of the U.S. constitutional right, the National Rifle Association, to bear arms.
Israel has acknowledged that Scot Pederson, an armed deputy assigned to the school, remained outside the school during the seven minutes that Cruz was still inside the school.
Israel said that Pederson stepped down from his post after he was suspended from service with the intent to fire him.
News organizations such as NBC and CNN have reported that at least three other deputies of Broward also failed to enter the school campus during the mass shooting, citing unnamed sources from the Police Department of Coral Springs, which also responded to the incident.
“Our investigation to this point shows that during this horrific attack, while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period, and that was former deputy Scot Pederson,” stated Israel.
He did not rule out that the investigation could discover other deputies who were guilty of negligence of duty.
The office of the sheriff is also investigating whether it failed to see danger signs about Cruz from two phone calls that are warning that he might be dangerous, stated Israel. Adequate steps were taken following 16 other calls about the suspect.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also said that it failed to follow proper protocols after the office received a tip that Cruz had a gun, had expressed the desire to kill and could possibly commit a school shooting.
Officials of the FBI have informed families of victims that they “deeply regret” the mishandling of their office regarding the matter.