School Deputy Stayed Outside During Florida School Shooting, Never Went Inside to Confront Gunman

An armed school deputy rushed to the Florida high school building where terrified students ran from a killer with an assault rifle, but then sat outside for about four minutes and never went inside.

The school resource deputy for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Scot Peterson, was under investigation for his response to the shooting but then decided to resign his post, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.

Two other deputies are also under investigation after a review of prior law enforcement calls involving accused gunman Nikolas Cruz spurred questions on whether the deputies followed the department’s policies.

“It’s devastating,” Israel said during a Thursday news conference. “I’m sick to my stomach. These families lost children, we lost coaches.”

Peterson, 54, started working for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in 1985 and since 2009 has been a school resource officer at the high school, appointed to keep the school and its students safe. In 2016, his annual salary was more than $75,600.

Israel said surveillance footage captured Peterson responding to the building where the shooting was unfolding. He said the deputy got there within a minute and a half of when the gunfire started. He positioned himself outside the building but never went in, Israel said.

The shooting lasted a total of six minutes. Peterson sat outside the building for four of those minutes, Israel said. In the end, 17 people were killed.

He should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer,” Israel said.

Modern active shooter procedures were changed after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 when officers were trained to wait for SWAT officers to respond and take out a threat. The officers in that shooting allowed the suspects to continue their rampage without being challenged. In the end, 13 people were killed.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Christal Hayes