The Latest: School district defends its response to massacre
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the investigation of February’s mass shooting at a Florida high school (all times local):
School officials in a Florida county are defending themselves from criticism leveled by the parents and spouses of victims of February’s high school massacre.
The Broward County school district issued a statement late Thursday, responding to criticism from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School families that campus security remains lacking throughout the county. The statement says that while it is understandable the families feel frustrated, there is no “fast, easy fix” and that progress has been made.
The parents and spouses of the 17 victims earlier Thursday called for the ouster of the school board in the upcoming Aug. 28 election. They criticized the delay in installing metal detectors at Stoneman Douglas and the district’s decision to abort an internal investigation into the Feb. 14 shooting. The district said the investigation was conflicting with a state investigation.
The parents and spouses of the 17 students and staff who died in the Florida high school massacre are calling for the removal of the school board in the upcoming election, saying they have failed to adequately improve campus security.
Tony Montalto is president of the group the families formed. At a news conference Thursday, Montalto said the Broward County school district has “stood by” in the six months since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He says the district’s 234 campuses are not prepared to reopen next week. He also pointed to the district’s decision to abort an internal investigation into the shooting and to not immediately install metal detectors at Stoneman Douglas. The parents of two shooting victims are running for the board in the Aug. 28 election.
The district did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment, but Superintendent Robert Runcie has said all schools will have armed police officers or guards beginning opening day. He previously said the internal investigation was halted because it conflicted with a state commission that is also investigating the shooting.
A crime analyst has told a Florida commission investigating February’s high school massacre that there is no personality profile that can predict campus shooters.
Analyst Nevin Smith said Thursday that the FBI, Secret Service and other researchers who have examined school shootings over the past 20 years agree that no profile exists. He told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that school officials instead need to focus on a student’s behavior.
The commissioners also were scheduled to hear from the state Department of Children and Families about a call the agency received after suspect Nikolas Cruz turned 18.
Commissioners will also hold a closed-door meeting to learn about Cruz’s educational, mental-health and medical history. Under federal law, those records are private. Cruz is charged with killing 17 people at the school on Feb. 14.
Prosecutors have made public hours of video interrogation of Florida’s high school shooting suspect, footage showing the young man punching himself in the face, slouching and speaking of a voice he says he has heard inside his head for years.
The video released Wednesday contains the same material as a transcript made public days earlier. Both were edited to remove what authorities say was a direct confession by Nikolas Cruz to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida.
In other developments, a sheriff leading the state commission investigating the massacre said Wednesday that the suspect’s behavior before the shooting was a “roller-coaster,” where Cruz would have stretches of good conduct before it deteriorated.