Several Palm Beach County police officers are guarding the home of the former school resource deputy who stayed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as last week’s massacre unfolded, Fox’s WSVN-TV reported.
Deputy Scot Peterson, of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, was armed and stationed on the school’s campus when Nikolas Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, leaving 17 people dead and others wounded.
He resigned Thursday after video surveillance showed he never entered the school, even though he “clearly” knew there was a shooting taking place, officials said. The revelation prompted widespread outrage.
When a WSVN-TV reporter tried to approach Peterson’s Boynton Beach home for an interview Thursday, he said he encountered a contingent of six police officers standing guard.
“They prevented us from approaching the house,” WSVN-TV’s Frank Guzman tweeted.
Sheriff Scott Israel during a press conference Thursday said video showed Peterson arriving at the west side of the high school where the shooting took place. Peterson, Israel said, took up a position but “never went in.”
Peterson, according to the sheriff, “was absolutely on campus through this entire event.” The deputy was armed and in uniform during the shooting, but never entered the building despite “clearly” knowing a shooting was happening, Israel said.
The sheriff said he believes Peterson remained outside of the building for roughly four minutes, while the shooting in total lasted around six minutes. Israel said the officer never fired his weapon.
The sheriff told reporters he’s “devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.”
When asked about what law enforcement agencies entered the building first, and at what time, Israel said that it “doesn’t matter who went in first” or “what order you went in.”
“What matters is that when we, in law enforcement, arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target,” the sheriff said. “And that’s what should’ve been done.”
Peterson, according to Israel, should’ve “went in. Address the killer. Kill the killer.”
The sheriff said that he suspended Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation, but the officer resigned and retired.
In February 2016, the sheriff’s office received a call from someone who was concerned that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school.” That information was forwarded to the Stoneman Douglas resource officer.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to WTVJ that Peterson’s family requested privacy and protection following Peterson’s resignation.
In 2014, Peterson was named School Resource Officer of the Year in Parkland, WSVN reported. The district stated “Deputy Peterson has proven to be reliable in handling issues with tact and judgment.”
Two other deputies from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office have been placed on restrictive duty as officials investigate “whether or not they could have done more, should’ve done more.”
The officers were identified by WSVN as Edward Eason and Guntis Treijis.
Their restricted assignments come as the bureau found it responded to 23 calls regarding Cruz or his brother since 2008. In two of the instances, Col. Jack Dale said, protocol might not have been followed.
Israel said an investigation remains ongoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.