School Officer Waited Outside During Parkland Shooting: Sheriff

'He never went in'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2018 7:05 PM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2018 12:20 AM CST
School Officer Waited Outside During Parkland Shooting: Sheriff
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks before a CNN town hall broadcast, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, at the BB&T Center, in Sunrise, Fla.   (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

“I am devastated,” the Miami Herald quotes Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel as saying. “Sick to my stomach. He never went in.” Israel suspended Scot Peterson—the school resource officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland—pending an investigation into his actions during the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead. Peterson, 54, resigned and retired shortly after his suspension was announced Thursday, the Sun Sentinel reports. He had been the school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas since 2009 and with the sheriff's office since 1985. He was named School Resource Officer of the Year for the City of Parkland District in 2014. But a review of witness statements and security footage from the Feb. 14 shooting called Peterson's actions into question, according to NBC Miami.

Israel says Peterson was armed and "absolutely on campus" when the shooting started. He says Peterson took up a position outside the school and stayed there for over four minutes as the shooting went on. The sheriff says Peterson should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer." "There are no words," he says. "These families lost their children." The investigation into Peterson will continue. Israel also admits to other possible failures in the months and years before the shooting. A tip to the sheriff's office in November that Nikolas Cruz "could be a school shooter in the making" didn't get written up. A relative had called the sheriff's office and asked it to seize Cruz's weapons weeks before the tip. And two years earlier a deputy investigated a report that Cruz "planned to shoot up the school" with nothing coming of the investigation. (More Parkland school shooting stories.)

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