(Reuters) - A surveillance video released on Thursday shows a sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Parkland, Florida high school staying outside while a former student fatally shot 17 people, according to the sheriff’s office.
As a national debate about the response by law enforcement to the Feb. 14 rampage and random gun violence in America rages, the 27-minute video shows Broward County Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson failing to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where he worked as an armed guard.
Peterson resigned on Feb. 22 rather than face suspension. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has said Peterson stayed outside the high school during the attack, instead of going inside to confront the gunman.
“The video speaks for itself. His actions were enough to warrant an internal affairs investigation,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement accompanying the video’s release following a judge’s order on Monday.
The accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces a possible death penalty if convicted of 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. A judge entered a not-guilty plea for him at an arraignment on Wednesday.
The response by Peterson and the sheriff’s office is under review by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. President Donald Trump has called Peterson a “coward” for not entering the building.
Peterson’s attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has said Peterson remained outside because he thought the gunfire was occurring outside the school.
The surveillance footage initially shows a uniformed officer and another man outside an arcaded part of the school. They then drive away in a golf cart.
Almost all of the footage shows dark figures occasionally moving outside the school’s Building 12, often while obscured by shadows. Images of students who appear in the footage are pixelated.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft