The Florida House voted Wednesday morning to issue subpoenas to South Florida government agencies seeking information regarding 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who authorities have charged with killing 17 people in a school shooting two weeks ago in Parkland
The chairman of the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee, Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yahala, says the House subpoenas are intended to provide insight into timelines and the decision-making process so that lawmakers can take action to prevent the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from happening again.
The subpoenas target five local agencies in Broward and Palm Beach County: the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Broward County School Board, Broward County government, the Coral Springs Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They seek information regarding interactions the five agencies might have had with Cruz prior to the school shooting and the reaction by authorities to the mass shooting.
The House plans to also seek similar information from the state Department of Children and Families, but did not issue a subpoena to DCF saying it will seek records by going through regular legislative channels.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and dozens of other Republican House members have been critical of those agencies for the way they interacted with Cruz before and after the shootings. They have called on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to be suspended from office. FDLE launched an investigation this weekend into the massacre at the request of Scott.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office had several incidents with Cruz in the years leading up to the attack. Critics have questioned how Cruz managed to slip through the system and was never flagged as a troubled youth who could be a danger to himself and to others. The sheriff’s office reportedly visited Cruz’s home 39 times over a seven-year period.
Sheriff Israel has also been criticized for this agency’s response to the shooting. A BCSO deputy who assigned to Douglas High as a school resource officer was forced to retire when he chose to stay outside the school during the shooting, instead of going inside to stop the shooter or help the victims.