Broward sheriff doesn’t refute claim deputies were given ‘stand down’ order while gunman fired on students

When asked if a stand down order had been issued as a gunman fired on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel responded by dodging the question.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The embattled sheriff is facing growing calls for his resignation over his agency’s handling of the shooting, to include 74 state lawmakers calling on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend him for “incompetence and dereliction of duty,” and he didn’t help himself with an appearance Sunday on CNN.

Jake Tapper grilled Israel, even as the sheriff touted his own “amazing leadership.”

Israel was asked if four of his deputies who took no action while officers from other agencies entered the school were given a stand down order, being told to wait for the S.W.A.T. team to arrive.

The sheriff did not refute the damning claim.

“I can’t tell you anything about that,” Israel replied, before trying to pivot away from the question. “I haven’t heard that…right now, Jake, the focus of this agency is on a successful prosecution of the killer.”

“We will get to the truth but right now people could have conjecture, people can act on rumors, and everyone has their right to their own opinion,” he added.

Tapper had earlier asked if it was “policy” for the Broward County Sheriff’s office to “set up a perimeter” before entering the school to eliminate the threat.

Referencing last year’s Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, Israel spoke of setting up a staging area, but said that did not apply to active shooter scenarios.

“Jake, you’re completely talking apples and oranges,” he said. “When we have a horrific incident of any magnitude and the incident is over and people are arriving to help and we know we have 5, 10, 12 hours of work to do, we have our police officers, fire fighters, deputies go to staging areas.”

“An active shooter is completely different,” he continued. “This is an active shooter, we push to the entry, to the killer, we get in and we take out the threat.”

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Tom Tillison


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