Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resumes classes and Uber driver recalls driving Nikolas Cruz to its grounds

on Feb28

1 March 2018 | 12:09 am


It’s been two weeks since Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15 semi-automatic style rifle to murder 17 people and injure another 15 individuals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz escaped undetected with other students who were fleeing the campus. Authorities reviewed footage from school security cameras and identified Cruz as the perpetrator. Within 90 minutes, Cruz was located and apprehended without incident in Coral Springs. The following day, Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered Cruz to be held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder. Let’s review what new details have emerged, and what has unfolded, over the past seven days.

Scot Peterson resigns as Broward County sheriff’s deputy

Scot Peterson, an armed officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since 2009, waited outside Building 12 for four minutes while Cruz executed nearly two dozen people. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel publicly berated the 6-foot-5 Peterson and announced that he had been suspended without pay. Rather than accept the suspension, Peterson retired from the force.

“What I saw was a deputy arrive … take up a position and he never went in,” Israel said at a news conference after reviewing surveillance footage. “There are no words. I mean these families lost their children. We lost coaches.”

Peterson, an Illinoisan who began his law enforcement career in July 1985, defended his actions in a statement issued by his lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo III.

“Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need,” DiRuzzo III, said in the statement.

“However, the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue. Radio transmissions indicated that there were a gunshot victim in the area of the football field.”

Peterson’s annual salary in 2016 was $75,673.72, according to sheriff’s office records. However, with overtime and other forms of compensation, he actually earned $101,013 that year.

Florida passes a bill that will allow trained teachers to carry firearms

The Florida House Appropriations Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that will allow 10 trained teachers to carry a firearm in every school across the state, according to the Tampa Bay Times. If selected following an extensive vetting process, educators who partake in the “school marshal” program will receive a one-time stipend of $500.

Major corporations sever ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA)

Cruz, who didn’t have a criminal history, passed a background check and legally purchased the rifle used in the rampage at a federally licensed gun store in Broward County. In response to public backlash, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hertz, Best Western Hotels and Resorts, MetLife and more than a dozen other major companies have severed ties with the NRA.

“United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website,” tweeted the Chicago-based airline.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced on Wednesday that it will no longer offer assault-style rifles like the one employed by Cruz. The mammoth sports retailer also proclaimed that it will no longer sell firearms to anyone below the age of 21.

“We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe,” tweeted Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reopens

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reopened on Wednesday exactly two weeks after Cruz’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre. A small army of police officers guarded the school throughout its half-day schedule.

Why did Cruz stop firing?

Cruz had 150 rounds of ammunition remaining when he stopped firing, shed his weapon and escaped undetected with other students who were fleeing the campus. Investigators now believe that Cruz’s onslaught concluded because his gun jammed, according to Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

Uber driver speaks

Cruz took an Uber to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 at approximately 2:20 p.m. EST. The unidentified Uber driver recalled the fateful ride during an interview on Wednesday with CBS Miami.

“I saw him with a backpack which I thought was a guitar case. He told me I am going to my music class,” the Uber driver said. “(He was) just a normal person. I didn’t see anything strange or something like that.”

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