Fla. officials call on Gov. Rick Scott to suspect Broward County's sheriff

Nearly every Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives is calling on Gov. Rick Scott (R) to suspend a county sheriff over his office’s response to a deadly mass shooting at a local high school earlier this month.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) tweeted a letter he sent to Scott on Sunday, urging him to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for “incompetence and dereliction of duty.”

In the four-page letter, 74 out of Florida’s 76 state House representatives accused Israel of failing to take significant action to prevent the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which a 19-year-old suspected gunman confessed to killing 17 people using an assault-style rifle.

“In the years leading up to this unspeakable tragedy, Sheriff Israel, his deputies, and staff ignored repeated warning signs about the violent, erratic, threatening and antisocial behavior of Nikolas Jacob Cruz,” the legislators wrote, referencing the suspected gunman.

RELATED: CNN holds town hall with students, politicians after Florida school shooting

21 PHOTOS
CNN holds town hall with students, politicians after Florida school shooting
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CNN holds town hall with students, politicians after Florida school shooting
National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch (R) answers a question while sitting next to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez comforts a classmate during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel (L) makes a point to NRA Spokesperson Dana Loesch during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez wipes away tears during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Parent Fred Guttenberg watches a monitor honoring the 17 students and teachers who were killed at Douglas High School, during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool Guttenberg lost his daughter Jamie in the attack on Valentines day.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky (L) asks Senator Marco Rubio if he will continue to accept money from the NRA during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Adults watch a monitor honoring the 17 people killed at Douglas High School during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Adults watch a monitor honoring the 17 students and teachers killed at Douglas High School during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Fred Guttenberg asks Marco Rubio a question during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. Guttenberg lost his daughter Jamie in the Douglas High School shooting. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students cheer during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Senator Bill Nelson asks for assault rifles to be removed from the streets during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
CNN's Jake Tapper listens to Senator Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Senator Marco Rubio (L) and Congressman Ted Deutch disagree during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Senator Marco Rubio, (L), explains his position during a CNN town hall meeting, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and parents wait for a CNN town hall meeting to begin, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students listen to sheriff Scott Israel speak before a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks before the start of a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and parents wait for a CNN town hall meeting to begin, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie speaks before a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie speaks before a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are recognized before a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S. February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Laughlin/Pool
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Florida House Rep. Bill Hager (R), who signed the lawmakers’ shared plea, also sent his own letter to Scott on Saturday to demand Israel’s ouster. Hager pointed to reports that Israel’s office received at least 18 phone calls between 2008 and 2017 from community members concerned about Cruz’s behavior.

In 2016, multiple people told the sheriff’s office they worried about Cruz’s cache of weapons, according to The Naples Daily News. One caller told a deputy he believed Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making,” the news outlets reported.

The sheriff’s office has also been slammed following reports that at least four deputies, including the high school’s armed resource officer, opted not to enter the building after responding to the shooting. The sheriff’s office announced Thursday that the agency was conducting an internal investigation into the deputies’ actions.

Israel defended himself during a heated interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, adding that he had no plans to resign.

“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Israel told Tapper. “I exercised my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.” 

RELATED: A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded

38 PHOTOS
A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded
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A timeline of how the Florida high school shooting unfolded

Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Sometime after 2 p.m. the gunman begins to make his approach to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. 

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

2:30 p.m.: The shooting begins.

According to CNN, people first heard shots at 2:30 p.m. Several witnesses have said the gunman pulled the fire alarm before shooting so that people would run into his line of fire.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2:35 p.m.: Some of the first signs to the outside world that a shooting was underway come from social media. One Twitter user noted that students were texting the about the shooting.
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all hell is breaking loose at Douglas high school @Coralspringsfla kids texting about a shooter ???? https://t.co/7NnoipVJpy

2:53 p.m.: Twenty minutes later the Broward County Sheriff's Office publicly acknowledges that a shooting is underway.
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#BSO is working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter located at 5901 Pine Island Rd, Parkland… https://t.co/zrKtdjDxcb

The shooter's exact movements inside the school are not clear. This video was recorded by a student inside a classroom, where gunshots and screaming can be heard.
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JUST IN (warning, disturbing video): Cell phone video inside the school as shots were going off at Marjory Stoneman… https://t.co/UAHNy8LnAu

2:55 p.m.: Local media report five injuries in the shooting, the first sense of its scale.
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Appears there are at least 5 people injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Coral Springs after reports… https://t.co/GB3K6tliYy

People are told to avoid the area.
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Avoid the area of Stoneman Douglas HS. #BSO is currently working a developing incident regarding a report of active shooter.

3:10 p.m.: A student tweets an image of the inside of his classroom where he and classmates are hiding.
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Still locked in. I checked the local news and there is 20 victims. Long live Majory Stoneman Douglas High. https://t.co/4kQMAlCBWt

3:11 p.m.: Sheriffs confirm that the shooter remains at large.
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Follow @browardsheriff for latest info on the #stonemanshooting. Shooter still at large.

3:15 p.m.: Students are seen running from the school grounds.
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​​​​​​​MORE: Aerial footage above Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shows students running from grounds of campus after… https://t.co/riKt7KAbT4

Deputies said that Cruz tried to hide himself among the students running away from the shooting.
They eventually identified him by examining surveillance footage and picking him out from the crowd. A witness told the Miami Herald newspaper that Cruz had put on a military ROTC uniform like those used in class while he was running.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

3:58 p.m.: Cruz is arrested around a mile from the school by the neighboring Coconut Creek Police Department. The incident is recorded by a news helicopter.
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Possible suspect in custody in #FloridaShooting #StonemanShooting. @wsvn https://t.co/gxisLcEVGf
At about the same time, President Donald Trump sends his "prayers and condolences" to victims.
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My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or an… https://t.co/RFJxgM1jhm

Shortly after the tweet, some students who survived the shooting responded in anger.

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

4:11 p.m.: Sheriffs confirm that the suspect had been arrested. Cruz is not yet named.
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Shooter is now in custody. Scene is still active. #stonemanshooting

4:27 p.m.: Cruz exhibits "labored breathing" after his arrest and was taken to hospital as a precaution. Local news outlets photographed him being loaded up for the journey.
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Photo: Suspect is loaded into fire rescue to be transported to hospital https://t.co/SP0rJg5tY5

4:22 p.m.: Sheriffs say 14 people were shot. The figure later increases.
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So far we have at least 14 victims. Victims have been and continue to be transported to Broward Health Medical Cent… https://t.co/hWUp5BuMcB

4:30 p.m.: The Associated Press reports that the shooting resulted in "numerous fatalities," the first indication that victims had died.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

4:34 p.m.: The first videos of the arrest emerge.
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#NEW: Longer video of suspect arrested @wsvn https://t.co/2ZHmCd69rV

4:59 p.m.: Sheriffs say students are still inside the school and are being removed from classrooms by SWAT teams. The school has about 3,100 students.

(John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

5:15 p.m.: Video on social media shows SWAT teams evacuating students from their hiding places.
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My little brother just sent me this video of the swat team evacuating his classroom at stoneman douglas. So scary b… https://t.co/inomdpbpmS

5:30 p.m.: Local and national media begin to name the suspect as Nikolas Cruz. Some initially spell his first name Nicolas, or Nikolaus.
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UPDATE: US official: Parkland school shooter identified as Nicolas Cruz.
5:39 p.m.: Parents, who were being held at a staging area near the school, begin to be reunited with their children.
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Parents and families of Westglades Middle School can now pick-up students at the school. Pine Island Road has been… https://t.co/Pkg6ixPiBR

6:27 p.m.: Authorities confirm deaths for the first time (previous statements referred only to "victims"). Their death toll is 17.
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Business Insider has been keeping track of the identities of those killed and wounded in the attack. Click here for a full rundown.

"I'm saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives."- Sheriff Scott Israel #stonemanshooting

7:36 p.m.: Media outlets are allowed to get close to the outside of the school. The local channel WSVN broadcasts footage of classroom windows with bullet hotels.
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A window riddled with bullet holes could be seen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in #Parkland https://t.co/aQ0zei1FX9

8:24 p.m.: A local correspondent tweets a clear photograph of the suspect.
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#BREAKING: Extremely clear picture of suspect captured by police @wsvn https://t.co/v4AiyIFFs1

Thursday 15th February, 5:39 a.m.: Reporters watch Cruz getting booked in to the Broward County Jail.
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BREAKING: deputies bring suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz to Broward County Jail @WPLGLocal10 #StonemanHighSchool https://t.co/718lffPkMo

Around 6:30 a.m.: Sheriffs publish jail booking details for Cruz, including his mugshot. He is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
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The entry is hosted on the Broward County Sheriff's website.

It lists Cruz's date of birth, physical characteristics, and lists the 17 separate murders with which he has been charged.

(Photo by Broward's Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
7:12 a.m.: Trump tweets, saying the shooter was "mentally disturbed."
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So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavi… https://t.co/3mSYrtTng6

8:22 a.m.: A teen who survived the shooting pleads for action, saying "we're children. you guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role."
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David Hogg survivor of Fl. school shooting: "we're children. you guys are the adults. you need to take some action… https://t.co/6KXQuGpDxd

Throughout the morning, we learn new details about Cruz's personal history. Cruz was adopted. He had been living with the family of a classmates since both of his adoptive parents are deceased, ABC News reported.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

8:33 a.m.: BuzzFeed News' Tom Namako reports that Cruz legally purchased the AR-15 that he used to carry out the shooting.
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BREAKING: Law enforcement official: Ex-student suspected in Florida school shooting legally purchased AR-15 rifle about a year ago.

Around 10:30 a.m.: FBI special agent Robert Lasky confirms that a YouTube user named Nikolas Cruz posted, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" in the comments section of a video in September.

The FBI was unable to confirm whether the account that made the comment belonged to Cruz, the suspected school shooter.

(Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

11 a.m.: Trump addresses the country.

"It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference," Trump said. "We must actually make that difference."

The speech focused on combatting mental health. Trump also said he plans to visit Parkland to console families and local officials at some point in the near future.

(AFP/Getty Images)

After Trump's speech, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he intends to meet with state leaders next week in Tallahassee to discuss potential legislation dealing with mental health.

"The violence has to stop. We cannot lose another child in this country to violence in a school," Scott said at a news conference on Thursday. "If someone is mentally ill, they should not have access to a gun … None of us want anything like this to happen again."

(Amy Beth Bennett/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

12:12 p.m.: Former President Barack Obama tweets in support of "common-sense gun safety laws."
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We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can hon… https://t.co/LWGSkzRapH

12:51 p.m.: The AP reports that the leader of a white nationalist group — called the Republic of Florida — claimed Cruz was a member of the organization.
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Jordan Jereb told The Associated Press that his group, Republic of Florida, wants Florida to become its own white ethno-state. ROF describes itself as a "white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics," according to the Anti-Defamation League.

He added that he didn't know Cruz personally and that Cruz "acted on his own behalf of what he just did and he's solely responsible for what he just did."

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization

Around 2 p.m.: A judge ordered Cruz held without bond on 17 murder charges.

(Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

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Israel has been outspoken in his criticism of Florida lawmakers ― many of whom are Republican ― who refuse to push for stricter gun laws.

“If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County,” Israel said earlier this month at a vigil to honor the Parkland victims.

A representative for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced Sunday that Scott had directed the agency to “investigate the law enforcement response” to the Parkland shooting.

The sheriff’s office “will fully cooperate with FDLE, as we believe in full transparency and accountability,” Israel said in a statement Sunday. “This independent, outside review will ensure public confidence in the findings.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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