A Florida Senate official on Wednesday said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel should be reinstated following a suspension over his department's response to last year's deadly school shooting in Parkland.
In his report on the suspension process, Senate Special Master Dudley Goodlette said GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis failed to prove charges in suspending Israel in January.
"While the governor has offered a plethora of criticism, he has not shown that Sheriff Israel’s policies, procedures or trainings on active-shooter situations were inconsistent with Florida law enforcement standards,” Goodlette wrote.
He said the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 dead, was the result of "individual failures." He noted the response of school resource officer Scot Peterson, who remained outside the school while police say a gunman fired 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle.
The gunman faces 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder.
The report is a blow to DeSantis, who suspended Israel, a Democrat, in one of his first acts as governor and replaced him with Sheriff Gregory Tony. Israel contended that his suspension was politically motivated.
"I humbly ask the Florida Senate to approve my reinstatement, so I can continue to serve all Broward County as the people's elected sheriff, Israel said in a statement, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Goodlette didn't find that DeSantis had overreached, as Israel had contended. But he did say the governor's attorneys had failed to prove that Israel should be removed from office.
Israel sought legal fees in defending his efforts to be reinstated. Goodlette did not recommend awarding any fees.
The new report will likely anger some Parkland parents, who pushed for Israel's removal following the deadly attack.
Indeed, Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed at the school, said, "I feel like someone just punched me in the stomach."
Israel also came under fire for a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January 2017. A gunman killed five people and wounded six others with a handgun he'd brought with him in checked luggage.
Florida's GOP-led Senate is expected to determine Israel's fate during a special session on Oct. 21. Israel has said he will run for reelection as sheriff next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.