Surveillance video shows armed deputy officer remained outside during Florida shooting
|Toronto Star 15 Mar 2018 at 11:21|
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.âSurveillance video released Thursday showed the only armed sheriffâs deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, remained outside during the Feb. 14 massacre at the school, taking cover behind a wall.
The deputy failed to confront the gunman during the six-minute rampage, the video time stamps show, confirming the account of other law enforcement officers who raised questions about the response by the sheriffâs office almost immediately after the shooting.
The 30-minute video shows former Deputy Scot Peterson flagging down another male staff member from the school at the main administration building and hopping on a golf cart to race to the freshman building. Once he is there, the footage appears to show a few students rushing outside. Peterson takes cover outside a corner of the building, behind a wall. The video has no sound.
While outside, Peterson provided frequent updates on police radio, according to a timeline provided by the sheriffâs office, including directing other officers to the building on the large campus and asking for nearby streets to be shut down.
News organizations including The New York Times had petitioned for the release of the surveillance footage, and Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson of Broward County Circuit Court ordered it be made public by noon Thursday.
Sheriff Scott Israel said that the video showed the deputy doing ânothingâ as the gunman killed 14 students and three educators.
Israel later defended his âamazing leadership,â despite Petersonâs inaction and other questionable decisions by his command staff to set up a perimeter around the school before it was clear that the shooting was over.
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Peterson was suspended and then resigned his post, and in a statement released by his lawyer said that he thought the gunfire originated from outside and reacted accordingly by waiting for the suspect there. But a detailed timeline released last week by the sheriffâs office, based on radio dispatches and surveillance footage, showed Peterson said over police radio that the blasts were coming from âinside.â
Peterson also told other law enforcement officers who raced to the school to stay outside. Officers from the Coral Springs Police Department, the first to arrive on the scene, pushed into the building anyway. By then, the gunman had already fled.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former Stoneman Douglas High student, was later arrested about 2 miles from the school. He has been charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the shooting.