Investigation of response to Parkland school shooting results in firing of 2 more deputies

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Kristi Gilroy (R), hugs a young woman at a police check point near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed by a gunman, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (AP) — Two additional deputies have been fired as a result of an internal affairs investigation into the agency’s response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people, the Broward County sheriff said Wednesday.

At a brief news conference, Sheriff Gregory Tony said deputies Edward Eason and Josh Stambaugh were fired Tuesday for their inaction following the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting.

“In essence, it was neglect of duty. We lost 17 people,” Tony said.

A state investigative commission found that Stambaugh was working an off-duty shift at a nearby school when he responded to reports of shots fired at the school. He got out of his truck, put on his bulletproof vest and took cover for about five minutes after hearing the shots, according to body camera footage. He then drove to a nearby highway instead of going toward the school.

Eason ran the other way as gunfire continued, then spent time putting on his bulletproof vest and body camera while the carnage continued, investigators said.

Eason was also faulted for not writing an official report after receiving a tip in February 2016 that the shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was making threats on social media to shoot up a school. Tips to the FBI about Cruz also were not followed up, a separate investigation has found.

Two other deputies were fired earlier this month for neglect of duty. One of those was school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was also arrested on charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. Peterson’s lawyer has said he will fight the charges.

The sheriff said no action was taken on three other deputies who were involved in the investigation.

Scott Israel, the sheriff at the time, was removed from office by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for similar reasons. He is appealing that decision before the state Senate.

Cruz, 20, faces the death penalty if convicted in the shootings. His lawyers have said he will plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence but prosecutors have rejected that offer.

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