Parkland, FL – A Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy, tasked with helping keep Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students safe in the wake of a shooter’s Feb. 14 rampage, was caught sleeping on duty in his patrol car on Monday.
A student witnessed Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Moises Carotti sleeping in his patrol vehicle at about 5 p.m. on March 19, while he was supposed to be patrolling the perimeter of the building at the Parkland high school where the mass shooting took place on Valentine’s Day, FOX News reported.
The student notified the Broward County sergeant on duty at the school, and the sergeant had to knock on the window of the marked patrol car to wake up the sleeping Deputy Carotti, WSVN reported.
The sergeant notified his superior officers at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and they sent another deputy to replace Deputy Carotti, WPLG reported.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Deputy Moises Carotti had been suspended with pay, pending an internal affairs investigation.
Blue Lives Matter reached out to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association to find out if there were extenuating circumstances that could have contributed to the deputy’s exhaustion, but had not heard back at publication time.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and his entire department have faced intense scrutiny since the afternoon in February when a 19-year-old former student went on a shooting spree that left 17 students and faculty dead, and another 16 wounded.
Initially, critics were concerned about the response of the school resource officer, former Deputy Scot Peterson.
During the gunman’s rampage, he took up a position outside the 1200 building where shots were being fired and ordered arriving officers to stay 500 feet back, instead of going in to try to save students.
There was also harsh criticism of other Broward deputies who did not immediately rush into the school building when they arrived on the scene.
Radio dispatch logs and recordings from Feb. 14 were later released. In the recordings, the public learned that Broward County Sheriff’s Captain Jan Jordan had ordered officers to set up a perimeter and begin staging rather than run towards danger to prevent additional loss of life.
“Of all the schools in America, you would think this would be the safest one right now,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement, after learning about Deputy Carotti being suspended for napping.
Rubio called the incident with the sleeping deputy “so outrageous it’s almost impossible to believe.”
Concerns about ongoing problems and potential violence at the school were legitimate. There were four arrests made at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Monday and Tuesday.
Zachary Cruz, the younger brother of the school shooter, was caught skateboarding at the high school on Monday after he had been told he was banned from the campus.
On Tuesday, two Marjory Stoneman Douglas students were arrested in separate incidents after they brought knives to school with them.
A fourth student was also arrested on Tuesday and taken for a psychiatric evaluation after making threats against the school on social media.
After the arrests, Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to Sheriff Israel and Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie demanding “immediate action be taken to require an armed law enforcement officer to secure every point of entry” of the high school “while students are on campus,” according to WFTS.
Sheriff Israel replied to the governor via Twitter, and accepted his officer of assistance.
The governor said parents had been contacting his office with their safety concerns.
“Recent events at the school have demonstrated the need for additional security measures to be implemented,” Scott wrote.