Two More Broward Sheriff's Deputies Fired For Response During Parkland School Shooting

Jun 26, 2019

Two additional Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies have been fired for their response to the Parkland school shooting.

Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Wednesday the completion of an internal affairs investigation that reviewed the performance of seven officers who responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018.    

The investigation resulted in the firings Tuesday of deputies Joshua Stambaugh and Edward Eason for “neglect of duty” during the shooting. Two other officers, including Scot Peterson, had already been fired. The three remaining officers were cleared of any wrongdoing and no disciplinary actions have been imposed.

“We spent a lot of time looking at our policy, looking at the actions,” Tony said during a news conference Wednesday morning. “After we take that totality of facts, it became clear to me and our command staff that this was neglect of duty.”

The shooting resulted in the death of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School.

The firings mark the latest in the fallout at the Sheriff's Office for its handling of the shooting. The office has been intensely criticized for its reponse by parents in Parkland, political leaders and other law enforcement agencies. Gov. Ron DeSantis has already suspended former Sheriff Scott Israel for what he called neglect of duty and incompetence and replaced him with Tony. The Florida Senate has been considering whether to uphold the suspension or return Israel to office.

The 124-page internal affairs investigation report released on Wednesday provides a detailed glimpse at how the deputies responded to the shooting. It includes the deputies' communications to dispatchers as they were on scene, as well as descriptions of the footage from the deputies' body cameras.  

According to the report, Stambaugh—a 20-year veteran—was working a shift at a nearby school when he responded to emergency calls at Stoneman Douglas. Once he arrived at the scene, he got out of his truck, put on his bullet proof vest and then took cover behind his patrol vehicle for nearly five minutes as he heard shots ring out. He then got back into his vehicle and drove to a nearby highway instead of going into the school. 

Eason, an 18-year veteran who was assigned to the Parkland district, ran in the opposite direction of where the gunshots were firing in Building 12. He then wasted time adjusting his bullet proof vest and body camera, a state commission that's investigating the shooting has concluded. 

Tony said investigators gathered testimony from the deputies about their response to the shooting. Stambaugh and Eason have both attributed their actions in part to not knowing where the gunfire was coming from. 

Peterson was the school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas during the shooting who was previously fired for his response. Despite being the first officer on the scene of the shooting, surveillance video has shown that he took cover outside Building 12 and did nothing to confront the shooter. 

He was arrested earlier in June and faces criminal charges for child neglect and negligence for his response. Prosecutors have said he could have saved lives on the third floor of the building had he engaged the shooter.

Sergeant Brian Miller was the other officer who had already been fired. According to the internal affairs report, Miller—who was the first supervisor on the scene—also did not enter the building during the shooting despite hearing gunshots coming from inside. The report adds that Miller "failed to immediately take command of the incident by not requesting additional resources, not providing supervisory direction" and not attempting to locate the shooter.

The three deputies cleared of wrongdoing were Arthur Perry, Brian Goolsby and Michael Kratz.