You can add another layer of law enforcement failure to the FBI’s acknowledged failure to report a tip about the shooter to a field office for further investigation. The Washington Post reports that Sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson stood outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while Nikolas Cruz was inside shooting students and teachers.
[Broward County Sheriff Scott] Israel suspended School Resource Deputy Scot Peterson on Thursday after seeing a video from the Parkland, Fla. school that showed Peterson outside the school building where the shooter was inside and attacking.
“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of Building 12, take up a position, and never went in,” Israel said.
He said Peterson was armed, and was in uniform, and should have gone into the building during the 6-minute event, which left 17 people, most of them teenagers, dead. When asked what the deputy should have done, Israel said: “Went in and addressed the killer. Kill the killer.”…
Israel said he “clearly” knew there was a shooter inside, something that made him “sick to my stomach.”
The Miami Herald has a bit more on Israel’s comments today:
“I am devastated,” Israel said. “Sick to my stomach. He never went in.”
According to Israel, Peterson remained outside Building 12 for about four minutes. The shooting lasted about six minutes, he said. When the shooting began the deputy was inside the school handling a matter with a female student.
After he was suspended, Peterson, 54, resigned. Two other officers are also being investigated for their actions in previous contacts with Cruz. Speaking of those two officers, Israel said, “They could have done more, they should have done more.”
Of course, we’ll have to wait on a final report with a detailed timeline of events to know for certain, but it sounds as if we have at least one officer and maybe more who failed dramatically here. I don’t think it’s a news flash to any sheriff’s deputy anywhere in the country that when someone is murdering children, their job is to get involved and stop it. That’s certainly the case when they are on duty in their primary area of responsibility.
If it’s true that Peterson knew what was happening and stood around doing nothing, allowing him to resign without consequences doesn’t seem right. What possible excuse could he offer for standing around outside while shots were going off inside? Maybe there’s nothing that can be done to him legally but it’s a kind of cowardice I can hardly imagine. He knew this was his job. If he couldn’t do it, he should have resigned long before now.
Also, I can’t end this without noting there are already some people defending this inaction, or at least saying he shouldn’t be blamed for being a coward. What do we pay armed police to do if not protect us from violence?
How the hell can you blame a "school resource officer" for not storming into an active shooting scene to counter a mad man with an AR-15? pic.twitter.com/cIfq0w1oPR
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 22, 2018
Here’s another attempt at spin:
so it turns out a good guy with a gun was there, with sheriff’s dept training no teacher will ever have, and he didn’t stop the bad guy with a gun
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) February 22, 2018
I think the takeaway here is that he didn’t try to stop him. Here’s a CNN report on the story.