Gov. DeSantis wants grand jury to investigate Parkland shooting

Posted at 8:55 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 16:07:51-05

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court for a statewide grand jury to look into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting and how the Broward County School district and other Florida school districts have handled money for security and issues that impact the safety of state schools.

"It's not limited to Broward County. It is multi-jurisdictional but I think it's something that is warranted," Gov. DeSantis said.

"I think it's something that may lead to accountability measures by a grand jury but it could also lead to, and I think it will, lead to recommendations about what some of the various school districts could do better."

Governor DeSantis said he was asked to potentially suspend the Broward County School Superintendent. He said he didn't have the authority.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were present at the news conference at the Broward County Courthouse and so were some parents whose children were killed in the shooting.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Governor also spoke about the issue of school security.

"While we cannot bring back the innocents lost, we can honor their memory by learning from the mistakes that were made and resolving to swiftly correct all of those within our control," the Governor said at the Deputy Barbara A. Pill Law Enforcement Facility in Titusville.

He issued an executive order calling on the Florida Department of Education to investigate school-based discipline diversion programs, like Broward County's PROMISE Program, a mentoring program for students who commit non-violent misdemeanors.

The goal of the PROMISE Program is to keep students out of the criminal justice system.

The Governor ordered the investigation, in part, because accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was referred to the program in 2013, but didn't fully participate.

Also on Wednesday, the Governor said he's extending the application period for participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which allows trained staff members who are not teachers to carry a gun on school campuses.

The application period is being extended to April 1 to allow Sheriff's deputies to apply if they wish to participate.

The Governor also directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to establish a threat analysis strategy to prevent tragedies from occurring.

"Florida has experienced many senseless acts of mass violence over the last few years and it must end now," said Gov. DeSantis. "The acts at Pulse Nightclub, the Fort Lauderdale Airport, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Jacksonville Landing, the yoga studio in Tallahassee, and just a few weeks ago, the SunTrust Bank in Sebring have all been avoidable tragedies. We live in a new era of policing as authorities now have analytical tools they can follow that will impede further violence."

Since he was sworn in on Jan. 8, Gov. DeSantis has made the following announcements: