Gov. Rick Scott has ordered eight Florida Highway Patrol troopers to beef up security at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members and injured 17 others last month in one of the nation’s worst school shootings.
Scott’s office said Wednesday the troopers will report to the school Thursday morning. The governor offered additional law-enforcement officers Tuesday, after two Douglas High students were arrested for bringing knives to school and a third was arrested for making threats on social media. The day before, Cruz’s brother, Zachary, was arrested after he was caught skateboarding at the Parkland school despite being banned from campus.
Also this week, Broward County sheriff’s deputy Moises Carotti, the school’s resource officer, was suspended with pay after a student discovered the officer sleeping in his patrol car on Monday.
“Recent events at the school have demonstrated the need for additional security measures to be implemented,” Scott wrote Tuesday to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and county school Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Scott said parents, including those whose children were slain during the Valentine’s Day attack, were worried about safety at the school.
“It is imperative that the proper steps are immediately taken at all schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas to keep students and staff safe. Parents, students and teachers have recently endured one of the worst tragedies in Florida history. They must be assured that every necessary step is being taken to increase safety and ensure no unauthorized people are allowed on campus,” he advised the local officials.
Scott ordered “immediate action be taken to require an armed law enforcement officer to secure every point of entry” at the Parkland high school, offering to provide FHP officers “until a more permanent safety plan can be put into place.”
The governor also ordered Israel and the Broward County school system to tell state education officials “what other steps are being taken to keep students safe on campus.”
Scott’s office announced Wednesday that Israel requested the eight FHP troopers, who will report for duty Thursday, to secure entry points at the high school.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who had dozens of encounters with law-enforcement and mental-health professionals over a lengthy period but who was never arrested or institutionalized and who legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle --- with no waiting period --- he is charged with using in the slayings.
In response to the shooting, lawmakers, who were in session when the massacre occurred, hurriedly passed a sweeping measure addressing school safety, guns and mental health. Scott signed the law on March 9.
On Tuesday, Israel’s office used one of the provisions in the new law to try to take firearms away from Zachary Cruz, who was also involuntarily committed under the Baker Act for a mental health evaluation after his arrest Monday.
Israel’s office filed a request in circuit court for a “risk protection order” against Zachary Cruz, who is being held on a $500,000 bond. The order would prohibit Cruz from possessing or acquiring guns for a period of time that would be determined by a judge.