U.S.

Parkland Shooting Survivor Walks Back Defense of Officer Who Stayed Outside

(Jonathan Drake/Reuters)
High schooler David Hogg placed blame on Florida governor Rick Scott for the tragedy.

One of the Parkland, Fla., students who survived the horrific Valentine’s Day school shooting walked back his defense of the sheriff’s deputy who failed to enter the school even as shots from the young gunman rang out.

Survivor David Hogg placed particular blame on Governor Rick Scott for the conduct of four sheriff’s deputies, including the school security officer, who took cover behind their cars outside as students inside were gunned down.

“He — just like every other police officer out there at heart — is a good person,” Hogg said of the security officer last week on MSNBC. “Who wants to go down the barrel of an AR-15, even with a Glock? And I know that’s what these police officers are supposed to do, but they’re people too.”

The 17-year-old had a change of heart on Monday, however, slamming the “cowardly Broward County Sheriff officials.” Governor Scott and other elected officials should be “held accountable” since “they’re in charge of them,” he stated.

“This is their fault,” Hogg told Morning Joe on Monday. “These elected officials are the boss of these sheriff personnel and just like the president is the boss of the FBI, Governor Rick Scott is essentially the boss of Scott Israel, the sheriff, and as such he should be held accountable.”

“Sadly, these are a few individuals that did not conduct their job correctly,” the student activist said of the deputies, “but I don’t think it’s right that Governor Rick Scott is trying to blame this on the bureaucracy in an effort to get reelected.”

In fact, Sheriff Israel, a Democrat, is himself elected, not appointed by Scott or any other elected official.

Hogg has been hit with smear campaigns on social media accusing him of being a paid “crisis actor,” not a real victim, a false charge. Conspiracy theorists have promoted the idea that Hogg is being paid by anti-gun activists to further their agenda.

The shooting survivor gave an ironic thank you to those attacking his reputation, saying they have given him and his cause the publicity they need.

“They’ve lost faith in America. But we certainly haven’t. And that’s ok, because we’re going to outlive them,” the high-school student said.

Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have not been quiet since a disturbed 19-year-old former student opened fire inside their school, killing 17 people. Most of the high-schoolers are lobbying for tougher restrictions on guns, and some marched on the capitol building in Tallahassee earlier this month. A massive march on Washington, D.C., is planned for March 24.

A bill to ban military-style assault weapons, such as the one the gunman used in Parkland, failed in the Florida House less than a week after the shooting.

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