Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson released a statement Monday saying that his failure to enter the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building during a shooting while on duty was not a sign of cowardice.
Peterson believes his actions on Feb. 14 were appropriate being that he received a call of firecrackers -- and not gunfire. In response, Peterson and Kelvin Greenleaf, a school security guard, exited the school's 100 building and ran to the 1200 building.
"Peterson heard gunshots but believed that those gunshots were originating from outside of any of the buildings," his attorney wrote in a statement. "BSO trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes."
Attorney Joseph A. Diruzzo, who released the statement to Local 10 News after the Miami Herald reported his response, said the criticism of Peterson's actions was "unfounded" and accused Broward Sheriff Scott Israel of maligning him.
Peterson claims that consistent with his training he "took up a tactical position between the 700-800 buildings corridor" and was the first BSO deputy to advise BSO dispatch that he had heard shots fired and was initiating a "Code Red" lockdown.
"Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 victims on that day and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need," Diruzzo wrote in a statement.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.