The armed deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "never went in" as a gunman mowed down 17 people in a packed hallway, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced Thursday.
Deputy Scot Peterson, assigned to the campus since 2009, should have gone inside, "addressed the killer, killed the killer," Israel said. Instead, surveillance footage showed him arrive at the building, "take up a position and he never went in," the sheriff said.
Peterson stood outside, doing nothing, for more than four minutes, Israel said, as accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. Fourteen students and three faculty members were killed.
"There are no words," the sheriff said. "I mean, these families lost their children. We lost coaches."
Israel said he was "devastated" and "sick to my stomach" by what he saw on the surveillance tape. Peterson, 54, resigned after being informed he was suspended without pay pending an investigation by internal affairs investigators, Israel said.
Peterson's whereabouts during last Wednesday's rampage has come under increased scrutiny as information surfaced that the FBI had previously received a complaint about Cruz's behavior and his love of weapons, but it was not investigated. The sheriff's office also received several earlier calls about Cruz.
Israel also announced Thursday that two other deputies had been placed on desk duty while authorities reviewed their responses to complaints against to Cruz.