Trump calls armed officer at Florida school who failed to confront gunman a ‘coward’
The armed officer who failed to enter the Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people to engage the gunman “believed he did a good job” by calling in the location of the massacre, a union official has said.
School resource officer Scot Peterson took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building that was under attack for more than 4 minutes, but "he never went in," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said on Thursday.
Mr Peterson was suspended without pay and placed under investigation, then chose to resign, Mr Israel said.
Jeff Bell, the president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, told the New York Post that Mr Peterson was "distraught" but believed he had acted correctly.
“He believed he did a good job calling in the location, setting up the perimeter and calling in the description (of Cruz),” he said.
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But Donald Trump, the US president, suggested the guard may have behaved like a "coward" as he publicly criticised his actions.
"He certainly did a poor job … somebody was outside, they are trained, they didn’t react properly under pressure or they were a coward," Mr Trump 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."
Politicians under pressure to tighten gun laws in response to the mass shooting floated various plans Thursday.
U.S. 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.
"If we are going to infringe on the Second Amendment, it has to be a policy that will work," Rubio said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press.
That falls short of reform demanded by students who converged on Florida’s Capitol to take their concerns to state lawmakers Wednesday. Outside the building, many protesters complained that lawmakers were not serious about gun control and said that in future elections they would oppose any legislator who accepts campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.
Timeline | US school shootings in 2018
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.
At a conference of conservative activists Thursday near Washington, Vice President Mike Pence said the administration would make school safety "our top national priority" after the shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida.