National Rifle Association representative Dana Loesch weathered extensive backlash from fellow participants and the audience at a town hall event this week in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at a high school in Florida.
She remained defiant, however, mentioning several factors she said contributed more to such massacres than access to firearms.
In one particularly heated exchange, Loesch confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over media reports that police were called to the home of suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz dozens of times in the years leading up to the Feb. 14 incident that left 17 students and staff dead at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
After the sheriff expressed support for increased ability to ensure treatment for mentally ill and potentially dangerous individuals, Loesch wondered why more wasn’t done in response to calls regarding Cruz.
“Thirty-nine visits, assaulting students, assaulting parents, taking bullets and knives to school,” she said. “Did that not meet that standard?”
Israel reacted by asking her for specific cases, to which she directed him to multiple media reports. One such claim was published days earlier by CNN, the network that hosted the town hall.
“You’re absolutely not the litmus test for how law enforcement should follow up,” Israel shot back. “You’re wrong. There weren’t 39 visits. Some of them they were (gone on arrivals). Some of them calls from other states. To say there were 39 visits, I don’t know where you got those facts but you’re completely wrong.”
Though Israel ultimately asserted that new outlets “reported it inaccurately” and chided Loesch for believing them, he announced Thursday that two deputies had been placed on modified assignment due to allegations that they did not properly investigate previous accusations of disturbing behavior by the shooting suspect.
The same day, he also revealed that Deputy Scot Peterson, the resource officer assigned to the school that day, allegedly remained outside for several minutes without intervening as the shooting took place.
Loesch responded to the latest developments in a series of tweets recalling the Wednesday night debate.
As Mediaite reported, she concluded her string of tweets with some appreciative words of support directed at the rank and file within the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.
Loesch wrote that she met several “honorable and upstanding” deputies, including some NRA members, who she said “exemplify the very best we’ve come to expect and love about LEOs.”
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