TALLAHASSEE: The armed officer on duty at the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people never went inside to engage the gunman and has been placed under investigation, police has announced.
The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a gunman armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle has reignited national debate over gun laws and school safety, including proposals by President Donald Trump and others to designate more people including trained teachers to carry arms on school grounds. Gun-control advocates, meanwhile, have redoubled their push to ban assault rifles.
The school resource officer at the high school took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building that was under attack for more than four minutes, but “he never went in,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Thursday news conference.
The shooting lasted about six minutes. The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Israel said.
When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.” The sheriff said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. I’ve been to the funerals. I’ve been to the vigils. There are no words.”
The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder and has admitted the attack. Defense attorneys, state records and people who knew him indicate that he displayed behavioral troubles for years. He owned a collection of weapons. Politicians under pressure to tighten gun laws in response to the mass shooting floated various plans yesterday.
U. S.Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said a visit to Stoneman Douglas prompted him to change his stance on large capacity magazines. The Republican insisted he is willing to rethink his past opposition on gun proposals if there is information the policies would prevent mass shootings. “If we are going to infringe on the Second Amendment, it has to be a policy that will work,” Rubio said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press.