(JTA) — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, over his office’s response to the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
Desantis made the announcement on Friday evening during a news conference attended by parents of children killed in the February shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“The massacre might never have happened had Broward had better leadership in the sheriff’s department,” DeSantis said, days after reports surfaced that he would suspend Israel.
DeSantis said on the campaign trail that Israel should be suspended for how he and his office handled the massacre.
Seventeen students and teachers were killed in the attack by a former student at the high school. At least one armed deputy from Israel’s office did not enter the school building during the attack. His office also is said to have not responded appropriately to calls expressing concerns about the shooter prior to the attack.
“Nothing, nothing, nothing will bring my kid or 16 others back, but there was failure everywhere you turned,” said Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime, 14, was killed in the attack, during the news conference. “And after that failure, there was just a refusal to take accountability and responsibility. I wish him well but it was time for a change.”
Israel, the county’s first Jewish sheriff, who has worked in law enforcement for 30 years and has acknowledged that there were mistakes in his office’s response to the Parkland shooting, said he will challenge his suspension. “This was about politics, not Parkland,” Israel said Friday after his suspension was announced.