PARKLAND, Fla. - Florida Gov. Rick Scott called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sunday to investigate law enforcement response to the deadly school shooting in South Florida last week, according to the governor's office.
The call for an investigation comes after a state representative asked the governor to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from his post for his deputies' "incomprehensible inaction" during the massacre, according to CNN.
Debate is stirring over the immediate response of Broward deputies after Israel announced Thursday afternoon the resignation of Scot Peterson, the school resource officer on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the time of the shooting.
Israel said Peterson, who was armed, never went into building where the shooter was firing at students and instead took a position outside and did "nothing." Peterson was suspended without pay pending the investigation but chose to resign completely, Israel said.
The sheriff said his department is also looking into reports that at least three other Broward Sheriff's deputies didn't enter the school building during shooting.
In a letter to the governor, Republican Rep. Bill Hager said an internal investigation "by Sheriff Israel will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims," referring to the students and teachers killed by confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz.
"The Sheriff was or should have been aware of the threat Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it," Hager wrote.
Hager is referring to a long history of warnings and tips to the sheriff's office over the past decade, including ones suggesting Cruz had firearms and was planning a school shooting.
In his letter, Hager cites Florida statute 112.52, which he says gives Scott "removal authority for neglect of duty and incompetence."
Israel dismissed the congressman's accusations, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, "Of course I won't resign."
The sheriff called the letter "shameful," saying it was "politically-motivated" and "full of misinformation," according to CNN.
In a letter of response to the governor, Israel said he was proud of the work that many of his deputies and other agencies did the day of the shooting and that he was appalled by Hager's "need to engage in disingenuous political grandstanding, perhaps in the hope he will garner some headlines, at the expense of the truth."
He also said that Hager's letter "was riddled with factual errors, unsupported gossip, and falsehoods."
House Speaker Richard Corcoran also sent a letter to the governor Sunday asking him to suspend Israel for "incompetence and dereliction of duty."
Today I sent the following letter to @FLGovScott Asking that he suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for incompetence and dereliction of duty. I was honored to be joined by 73 Republican colleagues. You can read the letter attached here. pic.twitter.com/exZVwGQ3DR — Richard Corcoran (@richardcorcoran) February 25, 2018
The FDLE will begin its external investigation into law enforcement response immediately, according to the below statement from the governor's office.
"Governor Rick Scott spoke to Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Commissioner Rick Swearingen today and asked FDLE to immediately investigate the law enforcement response to the shooting in Parkland. FDLE has confirmed that they will immediately begin their process."
Sheriff Israel later responded on Twitter, saying he had no problem with the governor's call for an investigation.
"The Broward Sheriff's Office welcomes Governor Scott’s call for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the law enforcement response to the Parkland school shooting. “BSO will fully cooperate with FDLE, as we believe in full transparency and accountability. This independent, outside review will ensure public confidence in the findings."
CNN contributed to this report.
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