President Donald Trump on Friday said that the armed school resource officer who stayed outside during the school shooting last week in South Florida was either a “coward” or “didn’t react properly under pressure.”
Trump made his remarks to reporters outside the White House en route to a national gathering of conservatives in Maryland where he plans to reiterate his view that a primary strategy to counter such shootings is to arm teachers with concealed weapons.
Scot Peterson, school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, authorities said.
“When it came time to get in there or do something, he didn’t have the courage,” Trump told reporters. “He certainly did a poor job.”
“They didn’t react properly under pressure or they were a coward,” Trump added.
Peterson, a Broward sheriff’s deputy, broke with widely accepted police practices put in place since the Columbine massacre in 1999.
Instead of waiting for backup or specially trained teams to arrive, officers are trained to pursue and eliminate the threat as soon as possible in an attempt to save lives.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · John Wagner, Mark Berman