Sheriff: Armed officer at Stoneman Douglas ‘never went in’ during shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has announced that the school resource deputy for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned amid an internal investigation.

Israel made the announcement during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

According to Israel, Deputy Scot Peterson was on campus at the time of the shooting that killed 17 people.

Scot Peterson

However, Israel said video showed the deputy arriving at the west side of the building where the shooting took place. Peterson then took up a position but “never went in.”

The sheriff said the revelation made him “devastated, sick to my stomach.”

When asked what the deputy should have done, Israel replied, “Went in. Address the killer. Kill the killer.”

Israel said he decided to suspend Peterson without pay pending an investigation, but Peterson decided to resign.

As students ran for their lives, radio traffic captured the chaos, including someone asking where the SRO might be. “Where is Peterson?”

In 2014, Peterson was named School Resource Officer of the Year for the City of Parkland, with the district saying “Deputy Peterson has proven to be reliable in handling issues with tact and judgment.”

Now, he’s off the force.

“I decided this morning to suspend Scot Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation,” Israel said “As is his right, he chose to resign.”

7News stopped by Peterson’s Boyton Beach home Thursday, but several Palm Beach deputies positioned outside blocked our crew from going to the door.

The BSO Deputies Association President, Jeff Bell, weighed in on the investigation:

“I fully expect any member of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, that if they are confronted with an active shooter scenario, I fully expect them to go inside of that building, or that house, or that mall, and engage that active shooter, and to prevent the loss of life.”

Jenna Korsten, a student mourning at Stoneman Douglas High School, said the news was hard to believe.

“I’m in shock that he hid outside, because we saw people like Feis, who risked his life, and Hixon, who risked his life, and they don’t even have guns,” she said. “If he’s the one with a gun, he should be the one out there with the gun trying to protect the kids. Why was he hiding outside? It just makes no sense to me whatsoever. I mean it just doesn’t make sense to me at all.”

Others at the school who were approached with the information simply shook their head and said they didn’t want to talk about it.

Israel said even thought Peterson resigned, the investigation remains ongoing.

Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old victim, Jaime Guttenberg added, “It shouldn’t be somebody who has already gone through their best police years, but maybe there should be (expletive) police officers who are going to take action and run in and not worry about the consequences to their public safety to save lives.”

Meanwhile, questions also remain regarding BSO contact with accused school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Logs show the department received 23 calls related to Cruz since 2008.

As a result, two deputies are under investigation.

Deputies Edward Eason and Guntis Treijis were placed on restrictive duty as investigators determine whether anything more could have been done concerning the accused shooter.

“I’ve restricted two of our deputies as we dig deeper into this, take statements and make a decision to see whether or not they could have done more, should’ve done more,” Israel said during the press conference.

7News has video of Eason from 2008.

BSO Col. Jack Dale spoke regarding these two deputies during the press conference.

“In two cases, we found instances where there was information provided,” said Dale. “It’s unclear if a policy violation occurred or not, so we feel, at this point, that they deserve extra scrutiny and to be reviewed and investigated.”

And there are more disturbing details about possible warning signs.

The logs show, a family member called BSO on Nov. 1 to report Cruz had rifles and asked deputies to take his weapons, but no report was initiated.

Later that month, BSO recieved another tip saying cruz could be “a school shooter in the making.”

But again, no report was made.

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