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Deputy Waited Outside Florida High School During Mass Shooting Rather Than Confronting Gunman, Sheriff Says

Kirsten Korosec
Deputy Waited Outside Florida High School During Mass Shooting Rather Than Confronting Gunman, Sheriff Says

The police deputy who was assigned to protect the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people last week has resigned after an investigation determined that he stood outside the building as teachers and students were gunned down.

Deputy Scot Peterson stood armed outside of the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for about one and a half minutes after the shooting began and remained in his spot for around another four minutes, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a press conference on Thursday after reviewing video of the incident. Police estimate the shooting lasted six minutes.

“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. When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel replied, “Went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”

Israel suspended the deputy without pay until an investigation could be completed after seeing video, reviewing witness statements as well as interviewing Peterson. Instead, Peterson chose to resign, Israel said, adding that the investigation will continue.

The information about the deputy’s actions emerges as President Donald Trump and lawmakers face increasing pressure to prevent mass shootings. Students who survived the shooting by alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz have called for gun control while others have proposed better protecting schools through a measures including having teachers carry concealed weapons or adding more armed security guards.

Trump said Wednesday that he is “strongly considering” allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms could help prevent mass shootings in schools.

“This would obviously only be for people very adept at handling a gun,” Trump said. “It’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they’d go for special training, and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.”