An armed officer assigned to Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were shot dead by a lone gunman has resigned after an internal investigation revealed he lingered outside the school as the massacre unfolded.
The family of Deputy Scott Peterson reportedly requested protection after the revelation. A local Fox affiliate WSVN shared a video on Twitter of his home protected by at least 6 sheriffs standing guard outside.
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
Peterson never went in to confront the gunman after taking position near the building where the bulk of the shooting occurred, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Thursday. Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, entered the Florida high school last week armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and opened fire, killing 17.
Israel made the decision to suspend Peterson, who was armed and in uniform at the time of the attack, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, according to CNN. Peterson later resigned, however.
Surveillance video captured the deputy’s actions that day as he remained posted outside the school building, doing nothing to engage the shooter inside.
“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position and he never went in,” Israel said, noting that Peterson waited outside for about four minutes. The shooting took place over roughly six minutes.
When asked what Peterson should have done, the sheriff said the deputy should’ve “[w]ent in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” He told reporters he felt “devastated [and] sick to my stomach” when he saw the footage.
“There are no words,” Israel said. “These families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals, I’ve been to the homes … I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just — there are no words.”
Two other deputies have been placed on restrictive duty, according to the sheriff, pending an investigation into their handling of telephone tips warning them about Cruz’s inclination to carry out a school shooting, Reuters reported.
It’s still unclear why Peterson never entered the building.