Authorities in Parkland, Florida, have placed armed guards outside the home of the former school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school after it was revealed he did nothing to stop the attack that left 17 people dead and over a dozen injured.
Deputy Scott Peterson, of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, was armed and stationed on the school’s campus when suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, entered the school grounds carrying an AR-15 rifle. Peterson resigned Thursday after surveillance footage emerged that clearly show the officer was aware of the shooting but failed to attempt to apprehend the shooter.
Instead of pursuing the shooter, the deputy “was seeking cover behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell,” Officer Tim Burton of the Coral Springs Police Department, who responded to the shooting, told the New York Times.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters that Peterson “was absolutely on campus through this entire event.”
“He was armed, he was in uniform,” Israel added. “After seeing video and statements, I decided to suspend Scott Peterson without pay, pending an internal investigation.”
We sent @BrianEntin to BSO Deputy Scot Peterson’s Boynton Beach home to try and talk to him about his resignation today. Were met by 6 @PBCountySheriff deputies standing guard outside his home. They prevented us from approaching the house. pic.twitter.com/1QPlmeHtqb
— Frank Guzman (@fguzmanon7) February 23, 2018
The sheriff said he believes Peterson remained outside the building for roughly four minutes, while the shooting lasted around six minutes. According to Israel, the officer never fired his weapon during the entire incident.
“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12, take up a position, and he never went in,” he said.
The sheriff told reporters he’s “devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.”
Peterson has since resigned as he has been with the force for enough time to claim his full pension.
The police also revealed Thursday that two other officers have been placed on restricted duty because they may have failed to adequately handle tips called in to the sheriff’s office that warned of the shooter’s behavior.
While the surveillance footage was clearly extremely damning as to Peterson’s role, Israel said it is unlikely the authorities will release it to the public.
“We may never disclose the video,” he added.
When another reporter quizzed Israel about what Peterson should have done in that scenario, the sheriff responded bluntly:
“He should have [gone] in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”
“What matters is that when we, in law enforcement, arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target,” Israel said. “And that’s what should’ve been done.”
Still, reporters pushed the sheriff for more information, asking what Peterson did during those six minutes that students in the school building were being slaughtered.
“Nothing,” Israel stated. “I think he got on his radio at a point in time. He took up a position where it looked like he could see the western entrance of the building. And stayed where he was. He never went in.”