Two more Florida deputies have been fired following an internal investigation into their response to last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Edward Eason and Joshua Stambaugh failed to assist victims during the February 2018 shooting, where 17 people were killed. At a press conference Wednesday, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the deputies’ terminations for neglect of duty.
“Seven deputies were the subject of the internal affairs investigation at my request and our findings, now that this investigation has concluded, included the termination of two employees yesterday,” Tony said.
“It became clear to me and our command staff that this was neglect of duty,” Tony said of the deputies’ failure to engage the shooter. “It was one of the most severe consequences as we lost 17 people.”
Eason and Stambaugh are the third and fourth officers to be fired for their actions during the Parkland massacre.
Stambaugh was working an off-duty shift at a nearby school on the day of the shooting. Body camera footage shows that he arrived at the scene, fiddled with his bulletproof vest and then took cover for about five minutes after hearing gunshots. He then got back into his truck and drove five minutes to a nearby highway, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Eason ran away from the sound of gunfire at the scene and then fiddled with his bulletproof vest and body camera, investigators said. He has been separately criticized for not filing a police report on Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland gunman, in 2016 after receiving a tip that Cruz was threatening to shoot up a school on social media.
Parkland school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson and Sgt. Brian Miller were previously fired over their actions during the shooting. Miller and Peterson were among the first on the scene, but an investigation found that Miller, who was a supervisor, hid behind his car, took time to put on his bulletproof vest and waited 10 minutes before going on his radio.
Peterson was arrested earlier this month on seven counts of child neglect and three counts of culpable negligence for his failure to enter the school during the shooting amid calls for help. Peterson has maintained his innocence and argues that he acted appropriately.
Two deputies and a detective who were also investigated as part of Tony’s internal investigation will be allowed to return to duty after they were found not to have committed wrongdoing.