Deputy Who Didn’t Enter Parkland School Defends Himself
On Monday, the campus policeman who did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the massacre in which 17 people were killed on Valentine’s Day issued a statement, asserting that he did not enter the school because he didn’t initially believe the hail of gunfire came from inside the building.
As The Miami Herald reports, Broward Deputy Scot Peterson issued a statement through his lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo, claiming his actions “were appropriate under the circumstances.” The statement claims Peterson “heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on the school campus. … BSO trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law enforcement.”
The statement adds:
Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue. … Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need. … However, the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue. Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance.
Last Thursday Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel slammed Peterson at a press conference for not confronting the shooter, saying Peterson waited outside for four minutes while the carnage inside the school continued. Israel blurted, “I am devastated. Sick to my stomach. He never went in.”
DiRuzzo said Israel had “maligned” the deputy in public statements.
The Herald reported last Thursday:
Peterson — named school resource officer of the year for Parkland in 2014 — was in another building, dealing with a student issue when the shots sounded. Armed with his sidearm, Peterson ran to the west side of Building 12 and set up in a defensive position, then did nothing for four minutes until the gunfire stopped, the sheriff said.
After the tragedy, Peterson was suspended without pay, then immediately resigned and retired.