Parkland deputy reacts to Trump calling him a 'coward' after school shooting: 'He wasn't there'

Twitter/@TODAYshowScot Peterson spoke out about President Donald Trump’s comments calling him a coward after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on February 14.
  • The former Florida deputy who was labelled a “coward” after the Parkland shooting broke his silence about President Donald Trump’s comments.
  • Trump had vehemently criticised the deputy, Scot Peterson, for failing to confront the gunman who killed 17 students and staff members.
  • Peterson told the “Today” show that Trump “wasn’t there” during the shooting, and “it’s easy to make comments and say things in Washington, DC.”

Scot Peterson, the former Florida deputy who failed to confront a gunman who killed 17 people at a Parkland high school in February, spoke out on the “Today” show about how President Donald Trump labelled him a “coward” after the massacre.

“The only think I can think is he went on the false narrative of Sheriff Scott Israel,” Peterson told host Savannah Guthrie, referring to the Broward County Sheriff who accused Peterson of doing “nothing” for several minutes while the gunman roamed the school.

Trump harshly rebuked Peterson’s actions after an investigation found that he never confronted the shooter, despite being the only armed deputy stationed on the school’s campus. Authorities also released surveillance footage from the high school showing that Peterson remained outside the building where the shooting was occurring.

“He’s trained his whole life,” Trump told reporters. “But when it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage, or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job – there’s no question about that.”

Trump added that Peterson either “didn’t react properly under pressure” or was “a coward.”

Peterson broke his silence earlier this week after two interviews with the “Today” show and The Washington Post. He told both outlets that he regrets that he wasn’t able to confront the gunman, but that he didn’t know where to find him.

“If I knew everything, I would have been in there and engaging that shooter, and you know what, hopefully I would have shot him,” he said. “It’s horrifying because as a police officer, if you’re a coward, that’s the worst label you can have as a police officer. And it’s just – it’s not true.”

He told Guthrie that it “hurts” that Trump had criticised him so harshly.

“He doesn’t know. He wasn’t there. You know, it’s easy to make comments and say things in Washington, DC. You weren’t there,” Peterson said. “You don’t know what I believed and what I assessed and what I heard those first few minutes on the scene. It’s easy for them to make me the punching bag.”

Watch a clip of Peterson’s “Today” interview below:

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