Florida shooting: Deputy resigns after doing nothing to stop gunman

By @chelean on
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018.
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. Reuters/Mike Stocker/Pool

The US armed deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned following the sheriff’s reviews that he did nothing to stop gunman Nikolas Cruz from killing 17 people. Deputy Scott Peterson resigned on Thursday after he was told he would be suspended.

Peterson was on campus when Cruz opened fire on the teachers and students of his former school. According to the reviews, he stood outside the building and did not go in to engage the shooter, allowing Cruz a six-minute rampage.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said on Thursday that he made the decision to suspend Peterson after reviewing video surveillance and interviewing witnesses, including Peterson himself. According to what he gathered, the deputy arrived 90 seconds after the first shots were fired. However, instead of going inside the school building where Cruz was shooting his victims using a semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifle, Peterson lingered outside for about four minutes.

Israel told the press that Peterson should have entered the building, addressed Cruz and killed him. Peterson’s inaction apparently allowed Cruz to fatally shot 17 people and wound several others on Feb. 14.

“There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. We lost coaches,” Israel said at the news conference in Florida. Peterson, who was with the agency for more than three decades, was suspended without pay earlier on Thursday, but he then resigned and subsequently retired. It was not made clear if he would face criminal charges. An investigation will continue.

Two other deputies, Edward Eason and Guntis Treijs, were placed on restrictive administrative assignments. They were under review for the way they handled two calls, including one from a caller in November who said Cruz was “collecting guns and knives.” The deputy apparently followed up with the caller but did not create a report to document it. Both deputies will be paid during the investigation, Sun-Sentinel reports.

Last week, Cruz, who was expelled from the high school for unspecified disciplinary issues, opened fire on the students and teachers. He escaped after the shooting by blending in with the students fleeing for safety. He then spent more than an hour wandering around a store and fast food outlets before he was arrested.