Surveillance video captured during the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shows the armed sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school remained outside during the shooting, taking cover behind a wall.
The release of the nearly 30-minute-long video on Thursday comes after CNN, The New York Times, and other news organizations sued the Broward County Sheriff’s Office for its release.
The video, which has no sound, shows Deputy Scot Peterson flag down a male staff member at the school’s main administration building. Together, they hop in a golf cart and race to the school’s freshman building, according to the Times, after which a few students rushed outside the school before Peterson took cover behind a wall. Throughout the video, Peterson is seen calling in frequent updates on his police radio.
He is then seen standing at a wall, seemingly not moving.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel had previously said that Peterson, who was an armed officer assigned to the school, did not go inside during Nikolas Cruz’s six-minute-long shooting spree at his former high school. After viewing the footage of Peterson remaining outside the school, Israel told the media he felt “devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.”
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said that, while it welcomed the Florida judge’s ruling to make the footage public, the investigation is ongoing.
“The video speaks for itself,” the statement said. “(Peterson’s) actions were enough to warrant an internal affairs investigation, as requested by Sheriff Scott Israel on Feb. 21. After being suspended without pay, Peterson chose to resign and immediately retired rather than face possible termination.”
Speaking through his lawyer after the shooting, Peterson said he hadn’t been sure where the shots were coming from. CNN also reported that responding officers were working with delayed information, as the security footage had somehow been rewound so they were viewing it on a 20-minute delay.