PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Nearly four months after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, the former sheriff’s deputy tasked with protecting those students is speaking out.READ MORE: Deadly Triple Shooting In Deerfield Beach
In an interview with the Washington Post, Scot Peterson, 55, said knowing what he knows now, he would have “been in that building in a heartbeat.”
“It’s haunting,” Peterson said now. “I’ve cut that day up a thousand ways with a million different what-if scenarios, but the bottom line is I was there to protect, and I lost seventeen.”
He is also speaking out on national TV.
In an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, which will air Tuesday and Wednesday on the ‘Today’ Show, Peterson was asked if he would acknowledge that “he missed it” by standing outside the building as a gunman fired an AR-15 assault-style rifle into classrooms.
Peterson told Guthrie he “lives with that.”
Peterson retired from the Broward Sheriff’s Office after surveillance video showed him outside the building where the shooting occurred.
He never confronted the gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.READ MORE: Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho On Mask Use For Upcoming School Year: 'Decision Cannot Be Rushed'
During the interview, Peterson calls the students “my kids” and says that knowing what he now knows, he would have “been in that building in a heartbeat.”
Parents of the victims were outraged by his comments.
Fred Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime was killed on the third floor, toward the end of the shooting.
He believes if Peterson had entered the building his daughter would likely be alive today.
“They are not his kids,” Guttenberg said. “He didn’t go to a single funeral. He has not mourned a single child. He has not missed a single kids birthday. He is not going to miss Father’s Day. He didn’t miss Mother’s day. He isn’t missing holidays. How dare he refer to them as his kids. They are not his kids. They are his victims.”
In an article in the Washington Post, Peterson claims that he did his job that day, calling for backup, clearing the courtyard, locking down the school.
“He’s trying to turn himself into a victim,” Guttenberg said. “He’s not a victim. He creates victims. My daughter was one of his victims. She was on the third floor. If he did his job she would be alive today.”
Parents of the victims saying Peterson’s timing was bad that day, and still is now.MORE NEWS: ‘The Ugly Truth For Us’: 4th Wave Of Cases Has Jackson Memorial’s COVID Floor Packed With Unvaccinated Patients
“I’m just so pissed at his decision,” Guttenberg said. “In this week, with graduation and all of this other end of year stuff, for him to go on his pity party tour…I’m pissed.”