In an unexpected twist to the terrible school shooting that happened in Parkland, FL last week, reports have come out which tell the story of an armed Deputy on scene. That armed Deputy, a school resources officer specifically assigned to the school that was targeted, did not enter the building in which the shooting was taking place.
The shooting lasted a total of 6 minutes, and the Deputy is reported to have waited outside for at least 4 of those minutes. Security cameras captured his actions during the shooting.
President Trump has since criticized the Deputy for his failure to act, calling him a ‘coward’ who did not have enough ‘courage’ to engage the suspect.
Broward County Deputy Officer Scot Peterson resigned from his post on Thursday after word got out that the 54-year-old had been the only armed deputy on the scene and had done nothing to apprehend Cruz as he killed 17 people. Instead, Peterson waited outside for “upwards of four minutes,” according to Sheriff Scott Israel and video footage capturing the incident.
“I am devastated,” Israel said at a press conference. “Sick to my stomach. He never went in.”
Peterson was the school resources officer at the school since 2009, and was held in high regard by many at the school.
A 2017 performance review shows he was a trusted officer who “takes pride in protecting the students, faculty and staff at his school.”
Regardless of his review, it seems that he failed to act when faced with an active shooter. I am not about to put myself in his shoes, but history shows us that an active shooter who is engaged in a gunfight is likely to end his or her own life. After all, they don’t want bullets flying back in their direction.
But still, these armed officers on campus are there for this exact reason, thus why this particular Deputy is coming under so much fire for his actions during the shooting.
The Deputy did, however, take some action during the incident;
According to the New York Post Peterson reportedly believed he did his duty. “He believed he did a good job calling in the location, setting up the perimeter and calling in the description,” local police union official, Jim Bell said.
Since learning of Peterson’s actions during the shooting, he was suspended without pay, and ultimately he made the decision to resign and retire after a 30-year career in law enforcement.
It will never be known if anything would have changed if Peterson entered the school and engaged the suspect, but IMO it could have made all the difference. When the active shooter sees a threat to themselves –even if they eliminate that threat– they now have in their minds that an armed response is present and there could be more bullets coming their way. In that event, what would likely happen, is that the active shooter comes to the conclusion that it’s over and takes his own life.
At the very least, it would have directed the active shooter’s attention away from students and faculty, and could have given others the opportunity to get away.
What are your thoughts on this new development?