In a shocking interview with CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday morning, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel praised his own handling of the tragic Parkland shooting, which left 17 high school students dead, and tried to remove himself from responsibility for the four sheriff's deputies who remained outside the building while the shooter continued his rampage inside.
Late Saturday, the Sheriff's department issued a statement denying any wrongdoing in failing to follow up on more than 23 separate warnings about the Florida shooter's stockpile of weapons and propensity for violence. The bizarre statement claims that simply because the shooter had committed no "arrestable offenses," that the sheriff's department was off the hook in handling the situation.
But Israel only made the situation worse Sunday, telling CNN's "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper that he "didn't know" four of his own deputies did not enter the school during an active shooter situation, and that he isn't participating in any further investigation into their complete abrogation of duty.
Naturally, Broward County Sheriff Israel has no answers about the additional deputies police say didn’t enter the school. He also isn’t participating in the details of the investigation into what happened.— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 25, 2018
Even Tapper was floored, asking the sheriff, "Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward County Sheriff's Office about this shooter before this incident?"
Israel shook his head, "no."
He did, however, admit that he heard "reports" his deputies didn't enter into the school before engaging in a "town hall" with NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, where he blamed the NRA specifically for causing the Parkland shooting.
"Because you spent much of the Wednesday night town hall on CNN to meet with the entire Stoneman Douglas communities, students and teachers and parents, attacking the NRA, saying the police need more powers, more money to prevent future tragedies, you didn’t disclose any of this, to the crowd then, the Stoneman Douglas high school community, did you know it then, did you know it Wednesday night?" Jake Tapper asked.
Shockingly, Israel responded: "It was spoken about earlier during that day. I’m not on a timeline for TV or any news show, we need to get it right, we need to get it accurate, we’re talking about people’s lives, we’re talking about a community, we need to corroborate, we need to verify, and once we did the next day, and I looked at the tape and I was 100% certain that it happened the way I was told about, the investigators initially told me about, I didn’t even release it right then."
He then said he was "disgusted" that his deputies didn't enter the school.
Perhaps in the most bizarre of all exchanges, Sheriff Israel referenced O.J. Simpson when asked whether he wishes he could have done things differently to stop the Parkland shooter.
.@JakeTapper asks Broward sheriff if he thinks the Parkland shooting might not have happened if his office had done things differently.— Ellison Barber (@ellisonbarber) February 25, 2018
Sheriff responds: "If ifs and butts were candy and nuts OJ Simpson would still be in the record books." pic.twitter.com/D3aTk8RIsC
Ummm . . . what?
Tapper, shocked as anyone, responded, "I don't know what that means. There are 17 dead people and there's a whole long list of things your department could've done differently."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Israel concluded the interview by insisting that there is no reason he should resign. "Of course I won't resign," he said, claiming, additionally, that he offered "amazing" leadership to his department.
After the interview, the Broward County Sheriff did confirm that there is an ongoing investigation into why four Sheriff's deputies completely abrogated their duty and did not respond to an active shooter as expected.
There is also a movement online to call for Sheriff Israel's resignation.
WATCH the interview, in full, here: