A school resource officer of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida — where 17 people were killed last week — has reportedly been suspended without pay for not taking any action against the shooter despite being present on the school premises at the time of the incident.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel on Thursday said that Deputy Scot Peterson was seen taking up a defensive position during the school shooting, however, he never entered the school building.
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz, opened fire on the premises of the Parkland school, gunning down 17 people with his AR-15 rifle. The senseless massacre has spurred a nationwide movement "Never Again" against gun violence in the United States.
The County Sherriff Israel announced the decision to suspend Peterson after reviewing a video from the shooting which showed Peterson not taking any immediate action to stop the shooter.
Israel said that the decision to suspend the officer was taken after taking statements from witnesses and the officer himself.
"He should have went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer," Israel said during a press conference.
Israel said that Peterson was armed and on campus during the school shooting.
Shortly after the announcement of the officer's suspension, Peterson opted to resign from his position since he met the requirements for retirement.
The sherriff said that the video shows Peterson arrived at the west side of Building 12, where most of the killing occurred. The officer reportedly took up a position, however, he "never went in."
According to the video, the officer remained outside of the building for over four minutes during the shooting, which lasted for nearly six minutes. Israel said that Peterson, apart from getting "on his radio", did "nothing" while standing outside of the building.
Israel added that when the shooting began, Peterson was inside an office dealing with a "school-related issue."
The reporters at the press conference asked Israel how he felt while watching the video, the sheriff responded to the question with: "sick to my stomach" and "devastated," according to ABC News.
"It doesn’t matter who went in first, it doesn’t matter in what order you went in," he said. "What matters is that when we in law enforcement arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target and that’s what should have been done."
Peterson was reportedly named school resource officer of the year in Parkland in 2014. According to the records, he has been with the same school for five years.
The booklet which announced his award stated that Peterson had been "proven to be reliable in handling issues with tact and judgment." It also added that he was active in mentoring and counseling students that particular year.
According to an internal memo from the sheriff's office dated March 27, 2017, Parkson was also nominated for Parkland deputy of the year in 2017. The officer reportedly began his career with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in 1985.
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