Gov. Rick Scott has called for a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into the "law enforcement response" before and during the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting — a move that is sure to turn up the heat on Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel has drawn criticism in recent days in the wake of reports that his sheriff's department failed to follow up on troubling information provided to them about the Parkland shooter. It has also been reported that more than one of his deputies may have failed to engage the shooter upon arriving to the chaotic scene.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday it would launch an internal investigation into the office's response to the shooting.
That wasn't enough for Gov. Scott, who confirmed that FDLE "will immediately begin" looking into the response of law enforcement.
"There must be an independent investigation and that is why I asked the FDLE Commissioner to immediately start this process," Scott said in a statement.
The call for an investigation came after House Speaker Richard Corcoran, along with 73 of his Republican House colleagues, called on Scott to suspend Sheriff Israel.
"The failures of Sheriff Israel and his deputies during and after the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (SDHS) on February 14, 2018, and their failures to intervene regarding Nikolas Jacob Cruz in the years, months, and days leading up to that shooting, are unacceptable and unforgivable," Corcoran wrote in a letter to Scott.
Scott did not address calls for Israel's removal.
Criticism of Israel's office's response has mounted in recent days. Thursday, Israel announced that a sheriff's deputy employed as a resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas never entered the school to engage with the shooter — a move that led to President Trump calling the deputy a "coward." The deputy, Scot Peterson, resigned.
Saturday, CNN reported that Coral Springs police officers arrived to find at least three Broward County sheriff's deputies — in addition to Peterson —stationed outside of the building during the shooting. (Israel contends that the shooting was no longer active by the time the additional deputies stationed themselves outside.)
And on Sunday, Buzzfeed reported that the sheriff's office vastly under-reported the number of calls it responded to involving the eventual shooter in the days and months leading up to the shooting.
Should Israel be removed or suspended, Governor Scott, who may run for the U.S. Senate in November, would be able to appoint a successor more likely to be friendly to him.
Israel, a Democrat, dismissed calls for him to step down or be removed. His office released a statement Sunday that BSO "will fully cooperate with FDLE."