As critics have taken aim at law enforcement for missing warning signs about South Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz, public records have emerged that conflict with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s statements about the number of times deputies were dispatched to the shooter’s home.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is investigating why three of its deputies apparently remained outside the Florida high school where 17 people were killed this month, Sheriff Scott Israel said Sunday.
Two law enforcement sources told NBC News that the deputies didn’t enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland during one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings on Feb. 14. Israel told NBC News on Sunday that the department’s internal affairs division was trying to determine whether they stayed outside when they shouldn’t have.
The acknowledgement came three days after Israel announced the resignation of another deputy, Scot Peterson, who’d been assigned to the high school but remained outside during the shooting, and as the sheriff’s response to the shooting came under increasing scrutiny.
Gov. Rick Scott asked the state’s law enforcement agency to investigate that response on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in a letter signed by 73 state lawmakers and released Sunday, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran asked Scott, a Republican, to suspend Israel, a Democrat, immediately over the department’s alleged failures to appropriately handle “repeated warning signs” from the man who’s been charged with the shooting, Nikolas Cruz, 19.
During one report to the sheriff’s office in 2016, for example, a caller said Cruz planned to shoot up a school and had posted photos on Instagram in which he was holding a gun. Last November, another caller said Cruz was collecting guns and knives and described him as a school shooter in the making.
The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Corcoran’s letter. Earlier, Israel dismissed an open letter to Scott from state Rep. Bill Hager, who backed Corcoran and called for the sheriff’s ouster.
In a response to Scott (PDF), Israel disputed Hager’s “reckless letter,” saying it was filled with “factual errors, unsupported gossip and falsehoods.” In an interview, Israel said he believed the effort against him was “politically motivated.”
The FBI has also acknowledged that it didn’t investigate a message left on a tip line about Cruz’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts.”
Israel said investigators were still trying to figure out whether the other deputies who reportedly remained outside Marjory Stoneman on Feb. 14 should have pursued Cruz.
He said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told a sheriff’s official that as his officers approached the high school on Feb. 14, they saw two or three deputies outside the school. Investigators plan to take statements from those officers and review possible surveillance video.
“At this point, I have no independent knowledge from video or personal knowledge that any Broward sheriff’s deputy did not go in when they should have,” he said.
Coral Springs police have declined to comment on the reports, saying in a statement: “Any actions or inactions that negatively affected the response will be investigated thoroughly, and the information will be released officially from the proper agency spokesperson.”
Marjory Stoneman held a voluntary orientation on Sunday afternoon as the school prepared for a phased-in reopening this week. Staff members would return Monday and Tuesday, Broward County Public Schools said in a statement, while students would return Wednesday.
By KERRY SANDERS and TIM STELLOH – MSN.com
Palestinian protesters in the West Bank inadvertently burned down a local factory this week while confronting IDF soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus.
According to Hadashot news, protesters in the Nablus-area village of Beita on Sunday were clashing with IDF soldiers, and rolled burning tires in their direction.
But one flaming tire had other plans and changed direction, rolling directly into a nearby plastics factory.
The building went up in flames and the factory was completely destroyed.
The report said Israeli firefighters arrived at the scene to help Palestinian Authority responders put out the fire.
The Nablus area has seen low-level clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters after an illegally built Jewish settlement outpost in the area sparked tensions.
The makeshift homes in the outpost called Evyatar were dismantled by the army last week.
Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown is under investigation by the province’s integrity watchdog over his financial affairs.
Integrity Commissioner David Wake announced on Monday that he is conducting an inquiry into Mr. Brown in response to a complaint filed by Randy Hillier, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington.
Mr. Hillier says in his complaint that “disconcerting patterns” related to Mr. Brown’s finances require explanation, including whether he has failed to disclose gifts, “lavish” travel and other sources of income in addition to his salary. Mr. Hillier is backing former Tory MPP Christine Elliott for the leadership of the PC Party. Ms. Elliott is one of five candidates, including Mr. Brown, in the race.
Mr. Hillier’s complaints cites, among other issues, a Globe and Mail report that documented a proposed deal whereby Mr. Brown was to sell an interest in a restaurant he partly owns and some Aeroplan miles for $375,000 to Jass Johal, a Brampton paralegal who went on to become a Tory candidate.
According to a copy of an affidavit shown to The Globe, Mr. Johal says he agreed to purchase two million Aeroplan miles and an ownership interest in Hooligans restaurant in Barrie from Mr. Brown. The affidavit is dated June 11, 2016, and signed by Mr. Johal.
Mr. Brown told The Globe in an e-mail that “no deal was ever done.”
Other documents seen by The Globe, including bank statements, show that Mr. Brown deposited $375,000 into his account at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on July 11, 2016. That same month, property records show he purchased a waterfront house on Lake Simcoe’s Shanty Bay for $2.3-million. He took out a mortgage of $1.72-million from Toronto-Dominion Bank, according to public mortgage documents.
When asked about that, Mr. Brown, who earned $180,886 a year as the leader of the Official Opposition, responded in the e-mail: “Like many people in Ontario, I received help from my family purchasing my home.”
After The Globe published the story, Mr. Brown tweeted out a picture of an affidavit dated June 16, 2016, that he says proves there was no deal. Mr. Johal was acclaimed as the Tory candidate for Brampton North on Nov. 21, 2016.
Mr. Brown posted his response to the Integrity Commissioner on Facebook on Feb. 22. “Mr. Hillier’s complaint was intended solely to distract the public from the discussion I am having with Ontarians about how to make life more affordable,” he says. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Hillier, a legislator who claims to represent hard-working taxpayers, has opted to usurp the resources of a taxpayer-funded institution such as the Office of the Integrity Commissioner to fight an internal Party leadership race.”
Regarding suggestions that the Shanty Bay house was beyond his means, Mr. Brown said in his letter to the Integrity Commissioner that his after-tax income was approximately $120,000, leaving him with $30,000 in annual income after his mortgage payments. His calculations did not include property taxes or utilities.
The Toronto Star has reported that the Integrity Commissioner was also asking Mr. Brown why he had not declared rental income on his Shanty Bay house. Those questions arose before Mr. Hillier filed his complaint.
By Karen Howlett – The Globe and Mail
Claiming he’s faced death threats, that his family members have been harassed and that his mother has been hospitalized because of stress, Patrick Brown intends to pull out of the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership race, two senior members of his campaign team said Monday.
The Ontario Conservative’s political maneuvers in the last few weeks have been nothing if not unpredictable. Brown’s apparent decision caps a bizarre, roller-coaster few weeks for the party, beginning with his resignation as leader last month, then a dramatic decision to enter the contest to fill his old job.
A formal announcement was planned for later Monday, the source told the National Post, though earlier Monday a Brown spokeswoman had refuted rumours that he was dropping out.
The campaign’s internal polling, released to the Post, suggested that Brown was doing surprisingly well, showing him tied for the first-ballot lead with former legislative member Christine Elliott and apparently gaining strength.
By Tom Blackwell – The National Post
The president was doubling down on his criticism of an armed sheriff’s deputy who did not confront the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed earlier this month.
“They weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners, alright?” Trump said. “The way they performed was frankly disgusting.”
Trump also told the governors he ate lunch last weekend with leaders of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“Don’t worry about the NRA,” Trump told the governors. ”They’re on our side.”
By Jordan Fabian – The Hill
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