It was Valentines Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
School Surveillance video released on Thursday by the Broward County Sheriff's office starts at 2:22 pm, less than one minute after the first shots were fired. The video shows assigned school resource
officer, Deputy Scot Peterson at the end of an outside hallway pointing. A few seconds later, he can be seen coming up behind an unidentified employee who had just knocked on a school door.
The two turn back around and Peterson can be seen talking into his radio. His walk becomes a run.
Moments later, they get into a golf cart while students, whose faces are blurred, can be seen running out of the building.
Seconds later, Peterson can be seen back on foot running up to the building. Video shows the unidentified employee running, what appears to be, into the building while Peterson stops outside and remains there for
the duration of the video- approximately 25 minutes. It's his actions during those moments that left his former boss, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel publicly fuming.
"He never went in," said a visibly frustrated Sheriff Israel during a news conference about one week after the shooting that killed 14 students and three teachers.
"It's hard to look at that [video] and see what the other environment is," said Sgt. EJ Diaz of the Tampa International Police Department. Diaz is a career law enforcement officer who worked for the
city of Tampa and taught defense tactics at Hillsborough County Community College.
"Protocol is to take care of the situation but a lot of time what happens with training is there's so many variable and so many things going on so its not the same thing every time," he explained
after watching the video.
The video was released to the media after a short court battle with several media organizations. The Broward County Sheriff and the Broward County school board initially did not want to release the video out of concern it would reveal school
security information. In the end, a Judge did not agree and the two agencies chose not to appeal.
As the seconds tick on the surveillance video, activity around Peterson appears to get more frantic. More students can be seen running, more officers can be seen responding in the corner of the video screen, while Deputy Peterson remains outside.
The Broward County Sheriff's office released the video via an email link that included the following message, "we welcome the court's decision to release the video of Deputy Scot Peterson's actions. The video speaks for itself."
Peterson's attorney maintains his client reacted appropriately and has stated that Peterson did not go into the building because he thought the shots were coming from outside. Recently released audio from the shooting seems to contradict that account.
Peterson retired shortly after concerns about his actions were made public. The Broward County Sheriff's office is not releasing its findings from its internal investigation until the case is closed.