The sheriff overseeing an investigation into the Florida school massacre says the state's mental health evaluation law would not have prevented suspect Nikolas Cruz from buying guns.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Thursday that some people believe that if Cruz had been subjected to the state's Baker Act, he would have been banned from purchasing weapons. He called that "flat-out erroneous."
Under the Baker Act, Florida can involuntarily commit a person for mental health evaluation for up to 72 hours. A police officer, judge, doctor or mental health official must believe the person is mentally ill and a near-term danger to themselves or others. School and law enforcement officials considered committing Cruz under the Baker Act in 2016, but did not. Even if he had been, Gualtieri said he still could have bought a gun.
Gualtieri is chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which meets once a month for three days. The commission was wrapping up its latest meeting Thursday with a discussion of the state's gun and mental health laws.
The sheriff overseeing an investigation into the Florida school massacre is defending a much-criticized law enforcement official who oversaw the initial response.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Thursday that Broward County sheriff's Capt. Jan Jordan's response was crippled by the county's radio system. The system became overwhelmed as dozens of first responders broadcast information and it started blocking new transmissions.
Jordan was the regional commander overseeing Parkland, the city where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located. Some have criticized Jordan for not quickly taking charge of the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead and for not immediately ordering deputies to charge into the building to kill the gunman.
But Gualtieri said Jordan "couldn't communicate."
Gualtieri is chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. It is finishing a monthly three-day meeting Thursday with a discussion of the state's gun and mental health laws.
Quirks in a Florida city's 911 system hampered law enforcement's response to February's mass shooting at a high school.
That's the position of Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission that is investigating the shooting that left 17 dead.
Parkland gets police service from the Broward Sheriff's Office, and fire from the neighboring city of Coral Springs. Cellular 911 calls from Parkland go to Coral Springs. Those that are for police are transferred to Broward County's 911 center. Almost all calls from Stoneman Douglas were from cellphones, which had to be transferred, adding about 30 seconds before each one reached a dispatcher.
The commission will finish a three-day monthly meeting Thursday with a discussion of Florida's mental health and gun laws.
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