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Florida School Shooter Was No Stranger to the Sheriff’s Office
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Florida shooting

Summary: The Broward County Sheriff’s Office had received numerous calls and tips warning them about the teenager that ended up shooting up a Florida high school.

In over a week since the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, the country has erupted into debates over gun laws and student safety. As the Broward County Sheriff’s Office collects evidence on the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, it is becoming clear that something could have and should have been done long before the shooting happened.

  
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One big blaring question that has not yet been answered is why an armed police officer already on the scene of the shooting waited outside the building for four minutes while the gunman went on a rampage inside. The school had a school resource officer who took up a position on the west side of the building where the shooting was happening but he never entered the school, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. According to CNN, Israel said, “I think he remained outside for upwards of four minutes.”

At this point, Israel has not released a reason as to why the officer did not enter the school to engage the shooter. The officer, a highly decorated senior member of the department, has since resigned instead of facing an investigation.

The other alarming evidence that is starting to surface is the history the gunman and his brother had with police. The sheriff’s office had received 23 calls over the past several years from people concerned about the gunman or his brother, according to Israel. These complaints were raising a red flag, warning of a very violent person in the making. The sheriff’s office now admits that they missed the warning signs and may not have responded to the calls appropriately. The FBI also acknowledged that they failed to act on the information they were given before the shooting on the gunman.

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In response to some of the calls, deputies met with the gunman’s mother a few times. Two of these deputies have been placed on restricted duty pending an internal investigation. Israel said, “In two of these cases, after being briefed by internal affairs, I’ve restricted two of our deputies while we delve further into this, to take statements and make a decision whether or not they could have done more or should have done more.”

Two of the calls made to the police were recent. One was on February 5, 2016 and another on November 30, 2017. The 2016 call was made by a neighbor’s son that claimed Cruz was talking about shooting up an unknown school. A picture of a “juvenile with guns” was found on Instagram, according to the police records. A deputy responded to the call, determining that Cruz owned knives and a BB gun. The information was then passed on to a school resource officer.



The November caller warned that the gunman was gathering guns and knives with a plan to join the Army. They believed him to be suicidal and a “school shooter in the making.” No report was written on the call at the time since the gunman had moved to a Lake Worth, Florida residence. The deputy referred the caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

Do you think calls and tips warning of possibly violent teenagers should be taken more seriously? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about mass shootings, read these articles:

Photo: housemusichits.com



 

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