'I've Given Amazing Leadership': Sheriff Defends Dept's Response to FL School Shooting
Broward County, Fla. Sheriff Scott Israel repeatedly defended his and his department's actions relating to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Israel also maintained that he will not resign his post in the wake of public criticism, and blasted a local lawmaker for demanding his ouster.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper challenged Israel on his handling of the shooting and questioned him about now-resigned Deputy Scot Peterson, who took up a position outside the school while the shooting occurred.
Tapper asked if Israel's office could've handled the shooting differently and prevented the bloodshed.
"If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books," Israel responded.
"Do you think that if the Broward sheriff's office had done things differently, this shooting might not have happened?" Tapper asked.
Israel, a former Republican elected twice as a Democrat according to "Reason," said his agency is focused on prosecuting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
"I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I've given amazing leadership to this agency," he said when asked about numerous "red flags" about Cruz that his department allegedly missed.
He repeatedly expressed disgust at Peterson, saying that he was "demoralized" when he found out about the former deputy's inaction at the site of the shooting.
Tapper also noted that Israel spent a block of time during a televised town hall last week being "rather belligerent" toward the National Rifle Association instead of informing the audience about new developments in the investigation.
Israel said he is not on a "timeline for TV."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 25, 2018
"We need to get it right, we need to get it accurate," he added, noting that the information he learned that day had not yet been fully corroborated.
Tapper also asked Israel about a letter that State Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton) sent to the office of Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
— Bill Hager (@RepBillHager) February 24, 2018
Hager reportedly asked that Scott remove Israel from his post and accused the sheriff of botching the case.
Israel called the letter "shameful and politically motivated."
"I never met that man," he said of Hager. "He doesn't know anything about me."
Watch the interview above.
Pretty curious about what, if anything, is his responsibility. https://t.co/2XDvCulV03
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 26, 2018
- Parkland murderer’s neighbors, family called Broward Sheriff
- 45 responses at least to murderer’s home
- He messaged threats to kill classmates which is a felony under FL statute
- Assaulted parent and classmates
- Took ballets and knives to school
- Sheriff blames NRA
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 26, 2018