Broward Sheriff's Office Deputy Scot Ralph Peterson was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to kill 17 people, but failed to go inside the building where the shooting was happening, according to Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel said Peterson was armed and in uniform, but "took a position" outside of building 12 during the massacre. Israel said he was outside for four minutes.
According to a Coral Springs police officer Peterson hid behind a concrete column instead of rushing inside the building to try to save lives. Israel said Cruz began shooting at 2:21 p.m., and exited the building about 2:27 p.m.
Peterson, 54, had been working at the school since 2009, according to Parkland records. Israel said that he resigned from his position as school resource officer Thursday, after learning from Lt. Barry Lindquist that he was under investigation by BSO's internal affairs division.
He received numerous awards during his tenure. In 2013, Parkland officials named him Broward County Sheriff's Office Parkland employee of the year. The department recognized Peterson as SRO of the Year for proving "to be reliable in handling issues with tact and judgment" in 2014.
In 2015, the Sun Sentinel reported he was among the police officers who were living for free on school property in exchange for after-hours campus security. According to the report he had been living at Atlantic Technical College in Margate since 2000.
Records show he lives in Boynton Beach. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies were guarding his home Thursday night.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.