President Trump tore into the Parkland school resource officer who neglected to act when a gunman unleashed a deadly attack in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — suggesting that the officer “didn’t react properly under pressure” or was “a coward.”
“When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage, or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job, there’s no question about that,” the President said of Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson.
“He was there for five minutes, for five minutes. That was during the entire shooting. He heard it right from the beginning. So he certainly did a poor job.”
Peterson’s family recently requested security, fearing for his safety after it was revealed he remained outside the Parkland school while a recently expelled student gunned down his former classmates and teachers earlier this month.
Six officers were standing outside Peterson’s home in Boyton Beach Thursday evening, according to WSVN.
The school resource officer, celebrated as the best in Parkland in 2014, resigned in wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting.
Surveillance video showed Peterson, armed and stationed outside the school at the time, never entered the building even though he knew the violent incident had been unfolding, officials said.
Officer Tim Burton, a deputy responding to the shooting, told the New York Times he’d seen Peterson “seeking cover behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he was “sick to his stomach” and “devastated” after learning the deputy “never went in.”
“These families lost their children, we lost coaches,” he continued. “I’ve been to funerals. I’ve been to homes where they’re sitting Shiva. I’ve been to vigils. It’s just, there are no words.”
Asked what Peterson should’ve done, Israel said it had been his job to “address the killer.”
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday also released a call log of nearly two dozen reports on the 19-year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz. They revealed Peterson had received a tip about the shooter two years before he killed 17 and injured more than a dozen in his bloody rampage.
On Feb. 6, a neighbor’s son called police and told them Cruz “planned to shoot up the school,” referencing an Instagram post of the teen posing with guns. A deputy determined he possessed knives and a BB gun before passing the information along to Peterson.
It’s unclear who the school resource officer responded, but the Sheriff’s office has opened an investigation.
Another two deputies were also under investigation after it was it was revealed the department received 23 calls related to Cruz and his brother since 2008.
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