Broward County, Fla., Sheriff Scott Israel

Officer on duty at Florida high school when shooting occurred quits the force

Feb. 24, 2018
Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson was being investigated for failing to enter the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while gunshots rang out.

The police officer who was on duty at a Florida high school when a gunman carried out a deadly shooting attack has resigned.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the officer, Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson was under investigation by the sheriff's office for failing to enter the building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman had opened fire on students and teachers. Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen wounded.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel says Peterson should have entered the building and "addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” After Israel had decided to suspend Peterson without pay while an investigation was conducted, Peterson opted to retire from the department.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of murder in the Feb. 14 rampage. He allegedly entered a school building with an AR-15 rifle and killed 14 students and three educators.

The sheriff’s office also says that it is investigating how two other deputies handled potential warnings about Cruz, including one from November in which a caller said Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making.”

Video on the day of the attack shows Peterson, 54, was outside the school building for “upwards of four minutes” while students were gunned down inside, Israel says.

“What I saw was a deputy arrive … take up a position and he never went in,” Israel told reporters at a news conference. “There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. We lost coaches,” Israel said.

Video from CNN of Sheriff Israel's news conference:

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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