President Trump has branded Florida security guard a “coward” amid revelations that the armed officer remained outside a Parkland high school as it came under siege by an assault rifle-wielding gunman last week.
As he left the White House Friday morning, the commander in chief said 54-year-old Scot Peterson “certainly did a poor job” after failing to go inside the school, where 17 people were killed in the Feb. 14 shooting rampage.
As he addressed CPAC later on Friday, Trump doubled down on Peterson, telling the gathering of American conservatives: “He turned out to be not good! He was not a credit to law enforcement, that I can tell you.”
Surveillance video shows Peterson taking cover behind a concrete column during the massacre.
It was announced Thursday by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel that Peterson did not go into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting.
Peterson, a 30-year veteran of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department who had been assigned to the campus since 2009, should have gone inside, “addressed the killer, killed the killer,” Israel said. Instead, surveillance footage showed him arrive at the building, “take up a position and he never went in.”
Peterson stood outside, doing nothing, for more than four minutes, Israel said, as accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, leaving 14 students and three faculty members dead.
“There are no words,” the sheriff said. “I mean, these families lost their children. We lost coaches.”
Israel added that he was “devastated” and “sick to my stomach” by what he saw on the surveillance tape.
Peterson resigned from the $75,000 a year job after being informed he was suspended without pay pending an investigation by internal affairs investigators, Israel said.
Police recordings during the shooting reveal that fellow officers were looking for Peterson as they converged on the school.
Peterson did not appear to be home when Inside Edition went to his house on Thursday night.
Some, like special education teacher Kevin Siegelbaum, are saying Peterson is being unfairly branded a coward.
Special education teacher Kevin Siegelbaum spoke to Inside Edition about Peterson’s actions.
“I don’t know if he felt he was doing the right thing, if he did the right thing, or whether or not he should have followed protocol and been an eighteenth [victim] lying on the floor,” he said.