Akin to his boss, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Deputy Scot Peterson is refusing to take responsibility for failing to confront gunman Nikolas Cruz as he shot dead 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The deputy insisted he isn’t a coward and that he didn’t initially believe that gunfire was happening inside the building, according to local media reports.
Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, in a statement released through his lawyer Monday, said his actions during the Valentine’s Day massacre “were appropriate under the circumstances.”
Peterson “heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on the school campus,” according to the release. “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.”
“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,” according to the statement sent from the office of Fort Lauderdale attorney Joseph DiRuzzo.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is currently investigating why Peterson failed to act during the shooting.
On Friday, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Brandon Huff told WSVN that Broward Sheriff resource officer, Scot Peterson, hid behind a staircase while pointing his gun at “nothing” as gunman Nikolas Cruz shot dead 17 people.
"He was pointing his gun at nothing." Student says he watched as @browardsheriff school resource officer Scot Peterson hid behind a staircase during the Stoneman Douglas shooting. @wsvn pic.twitter.com/IWRQorRrcL
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) February 23, 2018
“The school resource officer was behind a stairwell wall, just standing there, and he had his gun drawn, and he was just pointing it at the building,” Huff said told WSVN.
“Shots started going off inside, and you could hear them going off over and over again.”
“He was pointing his gun at nothing. He was pointing his gun just at the building with kids in it, and he was just talking on the radio, and he never did anything for four minutes,” Huff added.