Massacre school reopened amid scrutiny of armed officer on campus
A security officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did nothing to stop the shooter, according to reports.
The Florida high school where a former student shot and killed 17 people has reopened for teachers as the community deals with claims that the armed officer on campus did nothing to stop the shooter.
There were also reports of a delay in security camera footage scanned by responding police, as well as several records indicating the 19-year-old suspect displayed behavioural difficulties for years – adding to what the Florida house speaker Richard Corcoran described as an “abject breakdown at all levels”.
The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has reignited debate over American gun laws and school safety, including proposals by President Donald Trump and others to designate more people — such as trained teachers — to carry arms on school grounds. Gun control advocates, meanwhile, have redoubled calls for bans or further restrictions on assault rifles.
Teachers were told they could return to the school to collect belongings from classrooms that have been off-limits since the slayings more than a week earlier. The school plans an orientation Sunday for teachers and students, with classes scheduled to restart on Wednesday.
The school resource officer on February 14 took up a position viewing the western entrance of that building for more than four minutes after the shooting started, but “he never went in”, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference.
The shooting lasted about six minutes.
The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Sheriff Israel said. When asked what Mr Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer”.
The sheriff said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach. There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. We lost coaches. I’ve been to the funerals. I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just, ah, there are no words.”
Today, it was my great honor to host a School Safety Roundtable at the @WhiteHouse with State and local leaders, law enforcement officers, and education officials.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
There is nothing more important than protecting our children. They deserve to be safe, and we will deliver! pic.twitter.com/WhC2AxgWXO
US president Donald Trump weighed in on Friday, saying Mr Peterson was either a “coward” or “didn’t react properly under pressure”.
While departing the White House for the Conservative Political Action Conference, the president said: “When it came time to get in there and do something”, Florida deputy Scot Peterson “didn’t have the courage or something happened”. Mr Trump added: “He certainly did a poor job, there’s no question about that.”
New information has emerged about a communication issue between officials reviewing the school’s security system footage and officers who responded to the shooting.
Police said the footage being reviewed was 20 minutes old, which led to responding officers being told that the shooter was in a certain place, while officers on the scene said that he was not there. Officers said the confusion did not put anyone in danger.
Shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of murder and has admitted the attack, authorities said. Cruz owned a collection of weapons, and anonymous callers had contacted authorities with concerns that Cruz might shoot up the school as far back as February 2016.