An armed guard who was on duty at the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people has resigned after it was revealed he never went inside to stop the gunman.
Scot Peterson was at the western entrance of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a gunman armed with an AR-15 style assault rifle opened fire at students in the building.
The school guard stood outside for more than four minutes but ‘he never went in’, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference earlier today.
The shooting lasted about six minutes.
The officer was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, but has now chosen 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 that he displayed behavioural troubles for years. He owned a collection of weapons.
The massacre 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.
US Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said a visit to Stoneman Douglas prompted him to change his stance on large capacity magazines.
The Republican insisted he is willing to rethink his past opposition on gun proposals if there is information the policies would prevent mass shootings.
He said: ‘If we are going to infringe on the Second Amendment, it has to be a policy that will work.’
State Sen. Bill Galvano, who is helping craft a bill in response to the shooting deaths, said an idea gaining traction is a program that would allow local sheriffs to deputize someone at a school to carry a gun on campus.
Galvano insisted the idea is not the same as arming teachers. He said the program would be optional and the deputized person would have to be trained by local law-enforcement agencies.
A day after an emotional meeting with survivors and their families, Trump tweeted his strongest stance yet on gun control.
He said he would endorse strengthening background checks, banning ‘bump stock’ style devices and raising the minimum age to 21 for buying certain rifles.