The police officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was suspended Thursday for failing to engage the gunman (Nikolas Cruz) during the shooting last week.
Scott Peterson, who had worked for Stoneman since 2009, didn’t even go into the building where the shooting occurred. A witness told the New York Times that Peterson sought cover “behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced Peterson’s suspension during a press conference on Thursday, after which Peterson decided to resign.
Israel said he was “devastated” and “sick to his stomach” after learning of Peterson’s inaction during the shooting. “What matters is that when we, in law enforcement, arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target.” Peterson should have “went in, addressed he killed, killed the killer.”
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie says he’s “in shock” over Peterson’s behavior. “I’m outraged to no end that he could have made a difference in all this. It’s really disturbing that we had a law enforcement individual there specifically for this reason, and he did not engage…It’s one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever heard.”
President Trump joined in on the criticism Friday, calling Peterson a “coward” who “didn’t have the courage” to “get in there and do something.”
Two other deputies were suspended for their failure to follow-up on Nikolas Cruz despite having responded to more than 20 calls regarding disturbing behavior from Cruz and his brother – including warnings that Cruz was “collecting guns and knives” and “could be a school shooter in the making.”
The FBI also failed to follow-up on Cruz despite a warning that he had the potential to conduct a school shooting.
Local police are currently protecting Peterson’s home from reporters and angry locals who rightly blame him for the deaths of their friends and children.
Editor’s note: While we only know what has been reported in the media, it appears that extreme cowardice was a factor in this tragedy. When I was an intelligence officer engaged in overseas operations, I knew exactly how far I would go in the event of a confrontation and decided it was worthwhile to risk my life to serve my country. This police officer, if the story is true, refused to take a chance and engage the shooter even though he KNEW that children were dying.