Florida School Security Officer Did Not Try to Stop Shooting
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida high school where a former student shot and killed 17 people with an assault-type rifle is reopening for teachers Friday as the community grappled with word that the armed officer on campus did nothing to stop the shooter.
That failure, plus reports of a delay in security camera footage scanned by responding police and several records indicating the 19-year-old suspect displayed behavioral troubles for years added to what the Florida House speaker described as an “abject breakdown at all levels.”
The school resource officer on Feb. 14 took up a position viewing the western entrance of that building for more than four minutes after the shooting started, but “he never went in,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference. The shooting lasted about six minutes.
The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Israel said. When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”
The sheriff said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals. ... I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just, ah, there are no words.”
A telephone message left at a listing for Peterson by The Associated Press wasn’t returned. An AP reporter who later went to Peterson’s home in a suburb of West Palm Beach saw lights on and cars in the driveway, but no one answered the door during an attempt to seek comment.
Meanwhile, new information has emerged that there was a communication issue between the person reviewing the school’s security system footage and officers who responded to the school.
Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi said during a news conference Thursday that the footage being reviewed was 20 minutes old, so the responding officers were hearing that the shooter was in a certain place while officers already in that location were saying that wasn’t the case. Pustizzi said the confusion didn’t put anyone in danger.