Sheriff says armed officer assigned to Douglas High School abandoned his duty as the shooting started

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks to media

An armed school resource officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned in the midst of an internal investigation that found he deliberately did not engage the shooter in the mass shooting on February 14, 2018.

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Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scot Peterson was first suspended without pay pending the investigation, but chose to turn in his resignation, according to WSVN.

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Surveillance camera footage from the school showed that Peterson — who was armed and in uniform that day — took position outside an entrance to the building where the shooting began, but never entered the building. Peterson arrived at the building about one minute after shooting started and waited outside for “upwards of four minutes,” according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The shooting lasted about six minutes in total, according to Buzzfeed News.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed that in a press conference today, saying Peterson simply “never went in” on the day of the shooting.

Israel said he was “devastated” and “sick to [his] stomach” at the revelations. When asked what Deputy Scot Peterson should have done instead, Sheriff Israel told press he should have “went in” before addressing and killing “the killer.”

Peterson has sought retirement from the department, which Sheriff Israel said he’s entitled to after serving the necessary time with the agency and “meeting the requirements” for retirement from the department. Peterson had worked as the school’s resource officer at a salary of $75,673 annually since 2009, according to Business Insider. He was named the “School Resource Officer of the Year” in 2014 by the Broward County Crime Commission.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has attracted scrutiny after it came to light that they’d responded to the home of shooter Nikolas Cruz over three dozen times since 2010. Sheriff Israel said some officers involved in those calls were also under investigation and had been “restricted” pending an investigation into their handling of police reports about shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Reporters who went to the Boynton Beach home of Scot Peterson found that his home was under armed guard by six Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputies. They blocked a WSVN reporter from reaching Peterson’s home.

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