Florida House Speaker calls for probe into Parkland high school shooting


House Speaker Richard Corcoran said Thursday he wants the state to appoint a special counsel and create a commission to look into what he called the “abject failure” of multiple agencies that led last week to one of the nation’s worst mass shootings in Broward County.

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot dead 14 students and three faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. Cruz, who once attended the school, had a troubled history before going on the shooting spree.

“We’re hoping the commission is chaired by one of the parents whose child was killed,” Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, told The News Service of Florida on Thursday evening.

The speaker also said he intends to “use every ounce of our subpoena power as a legislative body” to “subpoena every document known to mankind” from the Broward County school district, the school superintendent and county sheriff’s office. The documents would be turned over to the special counsel and the commission, Corcoran said.

Cruz was able to legally purchase an assault-style weapon last year despite having mental health problems. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Thursday suspended the school’s resource officer, Deputy Scott Peterson, who later resigned.

Peterson remained outside the school during the shooting and “he never went in,” Israel told reporters Thursday. The investigation will continue, Israel said.

The state House, Senate and Gov. Rick Scott have hurriedly crafted legislation to address last week’s massacre, and the proposals will address mental- health screening and services, as well as ways to make schools safer. A single proposal, backed by the legislative chambers and Scott, could be released Friday.

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