FLORIDA | Officer never went in to confront gunman


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The armed officer on duty at the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people never went inside to engage the gunman and has been placed under investigation, police announced today.

The Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a gunman armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle has reignited national debate over gun laws and school safety, including proposals by President Donald Trump and others to designate more people – including trained teachers – to carry arms on school grounds. Gun-control advocates, meanwhile, have redoubled their push to ban assault rifles.

The school resource officer at the high school took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building that was under attack for more than four minutes, but "he never went in," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference today. The shooting lasted about six minutes.

The officer, Scot Peterson, was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Israel said. When asked what 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. I've been to the funerals. I've been to the vigils. There are no words."

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been jailed on 17 counts of murder and has admitted the attack. Defense attorneys, state records and people who knew him indicate he displayed behavioral troubles for years. He owned a collection of weapons.

Politicians under pressure to tighten gun laws in response to the mass shooting floated various plans today.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida authorities are asking the federal government for at least $1 million in emergency grant funds to reimburse state and local agencies for the cost of responding to last week's school shooting.

Petrina Tuttle Herring, a bureau chief over grants for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, made the request Tuesday in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Herring wrote that the total cost of the response to the shooting can't yet be determined, but local agencies say they incurred "significant costs." She called the $1 million an initial amount to help cover the personnel costs for investigative, intelligence and custody/supervision work, plus ongoing and capital expenses stemming from the incident.

A lone 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.

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