Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson was not the only armed deputy who had not entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to confront the shooter when Coral Springs police officers arrived.
CNN reported that three other Broward County Sheriff’s deputies were also outside the building and had not moved to enter to take on the alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz who killed 17 people on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida.
Coral Springs unnamed sources told CNN that the deputies had their pistols drawn, but were behind their vehicles outside the school.
When Coral Springs officers arrived on site, they entered the building and were later joined by new Broward County Sheriff’s deputies.
According to CNN, Coral Springs police were “stunned and upset” that the original deputies on scene did not join them inside the school.
Although it is still unknown if the shooter was still in the building when the Coral Springs police arrived, having someone armed on the inside could have saved some of the lives lost that day.
The full report of the Coral Springs officers’ observations will most likely be released in a report next week.
Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel about the deputies outside the school while kids were inside being shot.
“Given the horrific events of that day emotions were running high and the sheriff and I had a heated moment the following evening,” Goodrum said in a statement to CNN. “Sheriff Israel and I have spoken several times since and I can assure you that our departments have a good working relationship and the utmost respect for each other.”
Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi addressed officer concerns in an internal email obtained by CNN that said, “While recognition is not the reason we choose to do what we do, our Commission, City Manager and residents are well aware of the actions our members took in the face of danger and the heroes that you are.”
Peterson, “was absolutely on campus through this entire event,” Israel said at a news conference. Video footage reportedly captured him in position on the west side of the building, but he did “nothing.”
“He never went in,” Israel said, according to CNN, noting that Peterson should have “(w)ent in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” Instead, Peterson allegedly waited outside for four minutes as suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people with an AR-15.
Israel described himself as feeling “devastated” and “sick to my stomach.”
Peterson was suspended without pay, but has since resigned.
The revelation that Peterson allegedly stayed outside while the shooting took place has made him the subject of widespread criticism.
“Maybe they could’ve been saved,” said Lauren Noyola, a 16-year-old student survivor who lost three close friends in the shooting. “Maybe they could still be alive if he had gone inside and tried to stop something from happening,” she told NBC News.
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