SWFL weighs in on who’s to blame for deputies’ slow response in Parkland

On Sunday, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were allowed to return to their campus for counseling. And now, the debate over the Broward deputies’ response rages on.

74 Republican members of the Florida House called on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

There are claims that three deputies did not enter the building when they should have during the shooting. There are also questions about prior calls the department had to the shooter’s home.

Gov. Scott told the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to immediately begin investigating how deputies responded to the Parkland shooting. Israel said he will not be stepping down in the wake of these allegations, but some feel like the responsibility should fall on his shoulders.

“I’ve worked with some of the bravest people I’ve ever met..one person at this point, didn’t do what he should’ve done…it’s horrific,” Sheriff Israel said.

Republican lawmakers are calling for his resignation, but he said he has given his agency “amazing leadership.”

“You don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going in. These deputies received the training they needed,” Israel said.

The armed school resource officer resigned after surveillance footage showed him positioned near the school but not going in. And the Broward County Sheriff’s Office is also looking into reports of three other deputies who also didn’t go into the building.

People in SWFL have mixed opinions on the pressure for Sheriff Israel to resign.

“That’s a hard call. You just don’t know when you’re facing an automatic rifle, and you’re going to start shooting up, whether you’re going to end up shooting any students, so that’s a difficult call,” said Fort Myers resident Freeman Swank.

Others say the failure falls on Israel.

“I think somebody didn’t do their job, and if he’s in the position of authority, then it sounds like he’s most responsible,” said North Fort Myers resident Bob Koenders.

The state will investigate further who may have been at fault during the tragic events. But Israel said that at this point, he has no reason to believe anyone acted correctly or incorrectly.

Reporter:Kim Powell
Writer:Erica Brown