The sheriff’s deputy who resigned on Thursday after an investigation found that he never entered the building where Nikolas Cruz was shooting at students and teachers was specifically warned about Cruz’s potential for violence and appears to have largely ignored the tip.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Broward County Sheriff Deputy Scot Peterson, who worked as a School Resource Deputy (SRD) at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was the only armed office on campus on February 14 when Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside a school building, ultimately killing 17 people before he was able to escape the campus by blending in with evacuating students.
In a press conference on Thursday, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters that Peterson had opted to resign and retire after he was told he was under investigation for failing to engage with the shooter. Peterson reportedly stayed outside the school building where Cruz gunned down students and teachers throughout the entirety of the massacre. He was also reportedly involved in a mishap over surveillance camera footage that led responding officers to believe that Cruz was still inside the school when he had in fact fled the campus.
According to USA Today, Peterson, who was working at the school as an SRD, was alerted to a February 2016 reports from neighbors that Cruz had posed with guns on Instagram and that they worried he “planned to shoot up the school.” The USA Today report suggests that Peterson may have ignored the warning altogether, and there was no record of how or if he followed up on the complaint.
The news outlet obtained notes written by a dispatcher that are believed to have been forwarded to Peterson by a deputy.
“Third hand information received from neighbor’s son that Nikolas Cruz planned to shoot up the school on Instagram,” the notes reportedly read. The deputy reportedly determined that Cruz owned knives and a BB gun before forwarding the report to Peterson.
Multiple reports of apparent law enforcement failures and oversights have emerged since last week’s deadly shooting. Numerous law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were alerted to Cruz’s alarming social media behavior, and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office received 18 reports involving Cruz since 2008.
At Thursday’s press conference, Sheriff Israel announced that two deputies had been placed on restricted duty pending internal investigation into how the reports were handled. Friday’s USA Today report identifies those deputies as Edward Eason and Guntis Treijis.
[Feature Photo: AP]