Broward County

Parkland school cop Scot Peterson says things happened too fast for him to be a coward

Scot Peterson, school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addresses a public hearing before the massacre that led to his exit from the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Scot Peterson, school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addresses a public hearing before the massacre that led to his exit from the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Scot Peterson, the school resource officer receiving the brunt of the blame for not doing more during the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, said things happened too fast for him to act cowardly.

Also, Peterson said during an interview shown Tuesday morning on NBC's "Today," he thought the gunshots coming from the 1200 building were more likely from a sniper, as in the case of last year's Las Vegas mass shooting.

Instead, former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz was unleashing the gunshots inside the building.

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Peterson said he'd want the families of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas to know, "I didn't get it right, but it wasn't because of some 'Oh, I don't want to go into that building,I don't want to face somebody.' It wasn't like that at all."

As for accusations of cowardice, Peterson said, "There was no time. Things went so fast. .... I never thought a moment of being scared or being a coward because I was just doing things the whole time. It never entered my mind."

March for Our Lives organizers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland announce that they are taking their advocacy on the road this summer.

Manuel Oliver, father of 17-year-old Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, sharply criticized Peterson's interview.

"I think he's a little late for that," Oliver said. "I think the story needs to stay with the actual victims, which is my son and the other 16. I don't want this person to become a victim."

Manuel Oliver, father of 17 year old Parkland high school shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, reacts to part one of Today Show Interview with FMR BSO Deputy Scot Peterson

Oliver was also puzzled by Peterson's explanation that he did not know where the shots were coming from.

"You are supposed to be trained for this," Oliver said. "So that is a very poor explanation or excuse to explain what happened."

The second part of Peterson's NBC interview airs Wednesday. When media outlets reported Monday that a preview piece of the interview showed Peterson lamenting not going in and calling the students "my kids," several Parkland parents responded acidly.

"I want to make sure when this guy refers to the kids as his kids, that is not true," Oliver said. "These are our kids and will always be our kids."

Max Schachter lost 14-year-old son Alex and told the Miami Herald Monday, "He did nothing. He stood outside. He knew the guy was inside killing our kids. It's all crap."



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