On the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a former begrudged student of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, entered his former school and murdered 17 people.
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz became responsible for one of the largest mass shooting in US history after arriving at his former high school in an Uber taxi, setting off the fire alarm in the freshman building, and shooting indiscriminately with his AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
He killed a total of 14 students and three staff members and injured many more.
In the aftermath of the shooting, emotions and tension were high, as once again the laws on firearms in the US became headlines across the country. But in another revelation that left the victims, their families and citizens infuriated, it was announced by the Broward Sherrif’s Office that Deputy Scot Peterson, who was armed and on campus, did not enter the school and confront the killer.
Peterson’s refusal to enter the school resulted in him being suspended (although, he then chose to retire from the force) and labeled a “coward” by many, including President Trump.
Now, in security footage from that fateful day, we can see exactly how Deputy Peterson responded to the screams and gunfire.
Watch the surveillance footage below:
As you can see from the footage, an armed Peterson remains outside of the school buildings for the entirety of the shooting.
Peterson’s Sheriff condemned Peterson’s actions, stating in a press conference that the officer should have, “Went in. Addressed the killer. And killed the killer”.
In addition, when President Trump addressed a group of governors, he said, “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
However, Peterson has recently spoken out about the public backlash, saying how he is not in the wrong.
Listen to Peterson’s comments regarding his “cowardly” actions in the video below:
Peterson’s attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, claims that Peterson thought the shots were outside; adding that he had been following his training by ‘taking cover and prompting a lockdown’.
“Let there be no mistake, Mr Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 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.”
Peterson added that he initially received a call about “firecrackers”, and it was only when he ran towards the commotion, that he realized it was in fact gunfire. He also reported that it was Broward Sheriff’s Office training that taught him to “seek cover and assess the situation” in cases of outdoor gunfire.
After hearing shots, he says he also issued the “code red” – meaning that the campus was put on lockdown.
When back up officers arrived at the school, Peterson informed them the gunman was outside, according to DiRuzzo – and that this was confirmed by “radio transmissions [which] indicated that there was a gunshot victim in the area of the football field”.
In response to the horrific event, prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 19-year-old Cruz, saying: “The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”