Donald Trump calls deputy a 'coward' for not engaging Florida shooter


WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump criticised a sheriff's deputy who was present during a massacre at a Florida high school last week but stayed outside the building, calling him a coward.

The deputy, Scot Peterson, "certainly did a poor job," Trump said.

He "didn't react properly under pressure or they were a coward," the President said to reporters as he left the White House on Friday morning.

A former student armed with an AR-15-style rifle killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb 14.

Trump has proposed training and arming some teachers to deter and fight assailants.

"You have to have a certain amount of offensive power" within schools, Trump said.

The National Rifle Association, he said, "wants to do the right thing. I've been speaking to them and they do want to do the right thing."

The NRA has so far objected to one of Trump's proposals, to raise the legal age to buy a semiautomatic firearm to 21.

It also opposes many Democratic proposals to restrict gun ownership, including limits on the size of magazines or a ban on semiautomatic rifles of the sort Cruz used in his attack.

Peterson, the school resource officer at the campus, never went inside to engage the gunman and is under investigation, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference on Thursday (Feb 22), according to the Associated Press.

Israel said Peterson should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer," according to AP.

Instead, the officer took up a position in view of the western entrance of the building while the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, conducted his rampage.

The sheriff said he was "devastated, sick to my stomach," over the deputy's inaction, AP reported.

"There are no words."

Peterson chose to resign after being suspended without pay, Israel said.