Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Kyle Kashuv confronted former school resource officer Scot Peterson in an elevator Tuesday, telling him that it was “disgusting and despicable” that he remained outside while the school was being shot up.
Peterson was in the Broward County courthouse to give a deposition in the wrongful death lawsuit brought against him by Andrew Pollack, father of 18-year-old shooting victim Meadow Pollack.
Separately on Tuesday, a state lawmaker proposed a bill that could remove Peterson’s benefits from the Florida Retirement System, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, filed the bill (HB 1091) for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 5.
Peterson, who was the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, has drawn widespread scrutiny and criticism for not entering the school Feb. 14, 2018, as a gunman killed 17 students and faculty members at the Parkland school. He had been accused of waiting outside the school, and even hiding, as the gunman prowled the halls.
Peterson resigned and retired on Feb. 22, a week after the shooting. In April, he started receiving his monthly pension of $8,702. Pension payments are based on the total number of years worked and the average of the employee’s five highest-paid fiscal years.
“Can you explain to me why you let seventeen people die at school?” Kashuv demanded. “That was your job. You were getting paid 80k a year for doing absolutely nothing. It’s disgusting — it’s despicable. And I hope you live with it for the rest of your life,” the teen declared.
“You had a chance to save those kids. You were the one with the job. You were supposed to do it and you didn’t,” he added.
“I don’t know — I don’t know how you live with yourself every day, man,” Kashuv continued. “You were the one who was supposed to go inside. And you didn’t.”
The senior received accolades from several high-profile conservatives on Twitter.
“Kyle has a fierce heart,” said NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch.
Holy wow, this is powerful. No response to him.
Kyle has a fierce heart. For a teenager to have to hold accountable one of the many adults who failed him and his classmates … it speaks volumes. You see why DeSantis acted. You see why The Pollacks, the Pettys, and others fight. https://t.co/v5NzeH5pzE
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 27, 2019
Kashuv, a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment, said he was aggressively interrogated by armed school security officers last spring after he posted tweets showing pictures of his visit to a gun range with his father.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley commended Kashuv’s courage:
“This took a lot of courage @KyleKashuv,” Haley tweeted. “You stood up for your friends who no longer have a voice.”
Meadow Pollack’s brother Hunter echoed Kashuv’s disgust, saying: “Peterson’s only job was to protect the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. That was his ONLY job! On the day of the Parkland shooting, he ran and hid while students were being killed. This guy is a pathetic excuse of a police officer and a human being. Scum!”
And Andrew Pollack thanked Kashuv, calling him “a leader.”
“Thank you @KyleKashuv! I appreciate all that you’ve done as well,” Pollack tweeted. “You’ve stepped up. You are a leader.”
Not everyone on Twitter was impressed with the teen’s behavior, however. Some pointed out that Peterson already was haunted by his failure to act that day.
“This officer admitted the incident will haunt him the rest of his life,” wrote Abby Loftus. “We are all human beings. Confronting is one thing I completely understand, but then shaming him publicly by posting it online is another.”
“Kyle – I love your tweets and attitude, and understand your pain, but you’ll need to let the anger at this man go,” tweeted TruthJustTruth. “He didn’t step up when he should have and he will live with that forever. Let it go.”
Another Twitter user simply wrote, “I’m not sure this helps anyone.”
Peterson tearfully apologized to the victims’ families in an interview on NBC’s Today last June.
The 33-year law enforcement veteran said it wasn’t fear that kept him from rushing into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as Nikolas Cruz stalked the halls with an AR-15. It was chaos, miscommunication and his assumption that the shots were being fired outside by a sniper.
“I didn’t get it right,” Peterson admitted. “But it wasn’t because of some, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go into that building. Oh, I don’t want to face somebody in there.’ It wasn’t like that at all.”
“Those are my kids in there,” he added. “I never would have sat there and let my kids get slaughtered. Never.”