House ethics panel subpoenas PBSO in Douglas High mass shooting probe

Updated Feb 28, 2018
  • By Kenya Woodard
  • Post Capital Correspondent
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Broward County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI investigate a mobile home on the 600 block of Easter Cay Way in the Cascade Mobile Home Park, February 14, 2018. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is among the departments that the Florida House ethics committee is subpoenaing in its investigation of the Feb. 14 mass shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

A subpoena issued Wednesday by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, orders the sheriff’s office to deliver all records it has involving Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old confessed shooter in the Parkland slayings, to the Florida House by mail or in person by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 6. The subpoena seeks all records and evidence the sheriff’s office has about calls for service or assistance involving Cruz, including 911 call recordings, incident reports, witness statements and arrest affidavits.

» RELATED: Post coverage of the Broward County shooting

Corcoran also signed subpoenas Wednesday demanding records and evidence from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Broward County School Board, Broward County government and the city of Coral Springs.

»RELATED: The latest in Florida political news

The subpoenas were sent at the request of the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee after the committee submitted a report on the proposed investigation during a House floor session Wednesday. According to a letter to Corcoran from the committee chairman, Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, “the purpose of the investigation is to identify policy changes and resources required in order to ensure such an event will never happen again,” and the committee is seeking “relevant records, documents, and data.”

While Metz’s letter doesn’t say why PBSO is being subpoenaed, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies after the Parkland mass shooting did search a mobile home west of Lantana where confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz had lived for about a month in November.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie listen as Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks during a press conference outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Thursday morning, February 15, 2018, the day after former student Nikolas Cruz returned to the school and is accused of killing 17 people. The House ethics committee on Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 subpoenaed records from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and School Board. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post) Photo: Post Capital Correspondent

After Cruz’s adopted mother died on Nov. 1 of pneumonia, he moved into the home of family friend Rocxanne Deschamps at the Lantana Cascade park. But Cruz left a few days after Thanksgiving after Deschamps said he could not stay if he insisted on keeping a gun at the home, and he moved in with another family in northern Broward County, where he was living on Feb. 14 when, authorities say, he shot and killed 14 students and three adults at Douglas High.

Besides searching Deschamps’ mobile home after the mass shooting, PBSO and Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators and the FBI interviewed Deschamps and other relatives about Cruz.

The subpoenas come on the heels of Corcoran and other Republicans calling for the resignation or suspension of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel from office after it was revealed that Deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s resource officer, did not enter the school during the shooting.

Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who is a member of the ethics committee, told The Palm Beach Post she was “surprised” that the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office was subpoenaed but nonetheless supports the move as part of the House investigation.

It’s especially important in light of actions taken by the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Israel, who “should stand up and admit what he’s done wrong,” Slosberg said.