A deputy tasked with patrolling the Florida high school that was targeted by a mass killer last month was suspended Monday after falling asleep in his patrol car, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Moises Carotti will remain off the job without pay until the department finishes an internal investigation. His suspension is the latest embarrassment for the department, which has been the target of criticism since the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.
The incident also came as police arrested three students Tuesday in separate incidents. Two students were charged after being accused of bringing knives to the school. Another was arrested after sending “threatening” photos on social media of a gun and bullets, the department said.
On Monday evening, a sergeant was patrolling inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a student alerted him that a deputy was sleeping outside, said Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokeswoman for the department.
The sergeant, who wasn’t identified, went outside shortly after 5 p.m., well after school was done for the day, and found Carotti inside a marked patrol vehicle where he appeared to be sleeping, Coleman-Wright said.
Carotti was parked near the northwest corner of the 1200 building — the freshman building where the carnage unfolded last month.
The department said the sergeant had to knock on the window to get Carotti’s attention. Another deputy was sent to replace him and patrol the building.
Carotti was taken off the job Tuesday. The news of the incident prompted outrage from at least one lawmaker.
“Of all the schools in America, you would think this would be the safest one right now,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “This is so outrageous it’s almost impossible to believe.”
Carotti’s suspension is just the latest controversy in the aftermath of the attack as the department continues to fight back criticism.
A Broward County deputy stationed at the school as a school resource officer became the target of critics after information came to light that he stayed outside the school as the rampage unfolded.
Two other deputies are also under investigation after a review of prior law enforcement calls involving accused gunman Nikolas Cruz spurred questions on whether the deputies followed the department’s policies.
The department responded to at least 18 calls warning them about Cruz before the shooting, including one where the caller told officers he “could be a school shooter in the making.”