Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel declined to answer when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him if four deputies were ordered to stand down during the Parkland school shooting.
It was reported this week that not only did school resource officer Scot Peterson not enter the school when he knew the shooting was happening, but three other sheriff’s deputies also waited behind their vehicles while the shooter killed 17 people inside the school. (RELATED: Report: Four Deputies Waited Outside School During Shooting)
Tapper first asked Israel if it was “policy” for the Broward County Sheriff’s department to “set up a perimeter” before going into the school to stop the shooter. Israel had said in an interview after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting that he learned it was important for officers to set up a “staging area” before entering the premises, but he denied that such strategy applied to the Parkland school shooting.
“Jake, you’re completely talking apples and oranges,” Israel 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 asserted. “This is an active shooter, we push to the entry, to the killer, we get in and we take out the threat.”
However, Israel dodged when asked if the deputies may have received a “stand down” order that prevented them from entering the school.
“I can’t tell you anything about that,” Israel said when asked about a potential stand down order. “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 said.
Tapper continued to grill Israel about why the deputies didn’t enter the school, and Israel said there is an ongoing “investigation” as to why four of them lagged behind while Coral Springs police officers went in to try and eliminate the threat.
“Coral Springs arrived, the group of Coral Springs officers went in, about four minutes, I think we’re projecting, after the killer left the campus,” Israel explained. “I understand they have statements they’re giving us about the other three, four, five deputies. At this point we have no reason to believe anyone acted incorrectly or correctly.”
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion but nobody’s entitled to their own set of facts,” he declared. “We don’t know what those deputies heard. Perhaps they did something by what they heard from Peterson and that would be outlined in interviews.”