Israel, the county’s first Jewish sheriff, acknowledged on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper that an armed Broward County Sherriff’s deputy did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when former student Nikolas Cruz began firing an AR-15 rifle in the halls of the school.
Jake Tapper grills sheriff over school shooting response
Israel said when he saw video of the incident and realized that Deputy Scot Peterson did not perform his job, he called him in and suspended him without pay. He said his office was moving toward firing Peterson when he resigned.
Three other deputies are alleged to have arrived at the scene and not entered the building as well. This is currently under investigation, Israel said.
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) February 25, 2018
“One person — at this point, one person didn’t do what he should have done. It’s horrific. The victims here, the families, I pray for them every night,” Israel told Tapper. “It makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn’t go in, because I know, if I was there, if I was on the wall, I would have been the first in, along with so many of the other people.”
Tapper also brought up the at least 18 calls made to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office related to the shooter prior to the shooting. What action was taken following each call currently is under investigation.
Tapper went on to ask Israel if he thinks the shooting might not have happened if his office had done things differently. To which the Sheriff responded: “If ifs and butts were candy and nuts OJ Simpson would still be in the record books.”
“I don’t know what that means. There are 17 dead people and there’s a whole long list of things your department could’ve done differently,” Tapper responded.
Tapper asked Israel if he would resign, citing a letter from Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and 73 Republican colleagues who urged Gov. Rick Scott (R) to suspend Israel.
“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
Sheriff Israel was ridiculed about how his agency stumbled in its handling of red flags about the school shooter, including multiple 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. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.”