Officials wanted Florida school killer involuntarily committed in 2016 over mental health concerns

Officials wanted Florida school killer involuntarily committed in 2016 over mental health concerns
Documents show officials wanted to involuntarily commit the Florida school killer in 2016, about 18 months prior to the massacre. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida officials and counselors recommended involuntarily committing the Florida school killer to a mental health facility in 2016 over concerns his mental health was becoming increasingly unstable.

The Associated Press broke the news Sunday afternoon.

What are the details?

  • A sheriff’s deputy and school officials recommended in 2016 the killer be involuntarily institutionalized for a mental evaluation. Florida’s Baker Act allows law enforcement to involuntary commit people for three days for mental health examinations.
  • Documents show the killer was obsessed with guns, cut himself and even threatened to buy a gun and use it. “Calls had even been made to the FBI about the possibility of [the killer] using a gun at school,” the AP reported.
  • The sheriff’s deputy who made the recommendation was Broward County sheriff deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who failed to act during the shooting.
  • As we now know, the recommendation was never acted upon.

If the killer had been committed involuntarily in 2016, the likelihood of him carrying out the massacre would have been severely hampered, David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, told the AP. That’s because it would have almost certainly prevented him from purchasing the AR-15 used in the shooting, let alone any firearm.

Mental fitness is a requirement for owning firearms in most states.

What else do we know?

The Sun-Sentinel reported over the weekend that school officials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were so concerned about the killer’s fascination with guns that they barred him from participating in the school’s JRTOC shooting team and prohibited him from carrying a backpack on campus.