'I'm Human': Parkland Officer Reflects on What He Would Have Done Differently in Candid TODAY Show Interview

Posted: Jun 05, 2018 7:50 AM
'I'm Human': Parkland Officer Reflects on What He Would Have Done Differently in Candid TODAY Show Interview

Broward County school resource officer Scot Peterson was designated the "coward of Broward" after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. Leading figures, even President Trump, publicly condemned Peterson for failing to enter the building where the shooter was on his rampage, eventually killing 17 people. Peterson was armed and could have confronted the shooter, yet he remained outside the building for minutes. The officer is breaking his silence for the first time since the tragedy to answer the criticisms and to explain the factors surrounding his perceived inaction.

"Would you acknowledge that in this really important moment, you missed it?" NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie asked.

"I live with that, how could I not?" Peterson admitted.

"I'm human," Petersen added. "If I would've known, knowing what I know today. I would've been in that building in a heartbeat. It's my kids." 

Guthrie asked Petersen what kind of information he was getting while he was stationed outside the building. He said it was minimal.

Peterson recalled racing to the 12 building. As he approached, he heard two shots. He "immediately stopped," thinking the shots were outside and that somebody was shooting at them. He "never believed" there was an active school shooter inside.

"It's a hurricane proof building - it's hard to hear," he explained.

To make matters worse, there was a breakdown in communication. Emergency calls coming from the school were rerouted to the town next door, not the sheriff's office.

"So your dispatcher, nobody's giving you any information," Guthrie asked.

"No intel," he nodded. "No real time intelligence whatsoever."

Guthrie, speaking for enraged parents, pressed Peterson as to why he never entered the building, especially considering there had been so many school shooting in the U.S. lately. He believed he was doing his duty because he was "trained to contain the area," he responded. 

"Things went so fast," he said. "I never had a chance."

Some families of the victims did not accept Petersen's explanation. 

Mr. Guttenberg's statement was retweeted by Hunter Pollack, whose sister Meadow was killed in the February shooting. He added that Peterson's explanation made him "cringe."

At the 2018 MSD graduation over the weekend, Hunter accepted Meadow's diploma on her behalf. She was one of four students, the others being Nicholas Dworet, Joaquin Oliver, Carmen Schentrup, to receive posthumous diplomas.