Anthony Borges, shot five times while shielding his classmates in February’s Parkland shooting, blasted the district superintendent and county sheriff in a statement issued Friday.
The 15-year old, released from medical care last week, is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. According to Fox News, Borges used his body to protect the lives of 20 other students.
As accused gunman Nikolas Cruz rampaged through campus – killing 17 and wounding over a dozen others – Borges took bullets to the lungs, abdomen and chest.
Borges’ attorney read a statement prepared by the teen on Friday, admonishing Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and Superintendent Robert Runcie for the massacre. As Fox News reports, Borges was too weak to speak himself. Sitting silently in a wheelchair with one leg propped up, he listened as his attorney read his own words, criticizing law enforcement’s late response.
The statement specifically condemned the district’s ‘Promise’ program, which lets students who commit minor crimes avoid prosecution if they complete rehabilitation.
Runcie and Israel both say that Cruz never participated in Promise.
But as records obtained since the shooting show, authorities likely knew he was dangerous. Deputies were called to his house at least a dozen times. Before beginning his tenure at Stoneman Douglas, Cruz attended school at an institute for children with severe emotional and disciplinary problems.
Weeks before the shooting, writes Fox, authorities received calls fingering Cruz at risk for committing a school shooting. Both the Broward County Sheriff and FBI were alerted but neither agency took action.
Together, Borges says Runcie and Israel “failed us students, teachers and parents alike on so many levels.”
“I want all of us to move forward to end the environment that allowed people like Nikolas Cruz to fall through the cracks,” said Borges’ attorney, the boy sitting nearby. “You knew he was a problem years ago and you did nothing. He should never have been in school with us.”
Attorney Alex Arreaza says the 15-year old’s father, Roger, appreciates that his son is considered a hero but hopes lawmakers and law enforcement can collaborate to reduce shooting incidents nationwide.
“He doesn’t want there to be any more bubblegum hero stuff,” said Arreaza.
Since February, several survivors of the Parkland shooting have made headlines. Students David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Alfonso Calderon and Sarah Chadwick have all participated in rallies, fundraisers, and media campaigns aimed at enacting more effective gun control regulations in Florida and across the country.
Despite students’ aggressive attempts to effect change, Congress has yet to take any major action on gun control.
However, cities and states have implemented their own sets of ordinances and laws designed to push down firearm-related deaths and assaults. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill in March that extended firearm purchase wait-times, restricted the sale and possession of bump stocks and raised the minimum age to purchase a rifle or handgun from 18 to 21.
The legislation included a controversial requirement that Florida school districts be allowed to arm teachers and other school staff, if they so choose.
Parkland’s school board opted out.