An armed officer on duty when a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida school on Feb. 14 found a safe spot outside the building — and did absolutely "nothing," officials said Thursday. Scot Peterson, who was the last line of defense at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, resigned and subsequently retired after a video surfaced of him outside the school.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who previously suspended the officer without pay said, "What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position and he never went in." Meanwhile, former student, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was reportedly inside for approximately six minutes, gunning down students with an AR-15-style assault weapon.
Nikolas Cruz appears in court on Feb. 19, 2018, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Despite resigning, Scot believed he did a good job. According to the president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, "He believed he did a good job calling in the location, setting up the perimeter, and calling in the description (of Cruz)," said the union official, Jim Bell.
During a press conference, the union head said he didn't want to second-guess Scott — but strongly suggested that failing to take on Nikolas was a mistake. "We have to act, even if that means risking our lives to save many, many more lives. I would demand that from our union members,” said Jim. "You're listening to an execution every time you hear the rifle shot."
"We're all here for the same goal, protect our kids, protect our property."— Chris Stewart (@CStewartWPTV) February 23, 2018
Video from a 2015 School Board Meeting of Deputy Scot Peterson armed security officer who but entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school during last week's school shooting. #parkland #StonemanDouglas pic.twitter.com/GmKcKBgahJ
School superintendent Robert Runcie echoed the same sentiment on Thursday. "I'm in shock and 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. He did not do his job. It's one of the most unbelievable things I've ever heard."
The 6-foot-five-inch Illinois native had worked as a school safety officer since 2009 and made a base annual salary of $75,673.72 as of 2016, according to sheriff’s office records cited by the Sun-Sentinel. According to a 2017 performance review, he was considered a trusted officer who "values his position and takes pride in protecting the students, faculty, and staff at his school."