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Donald Trump says armed officer who didn't confront school shooter may be 'a coward'

Trump said Deputy Scot Peterson ‘did a poor job’.

Image: Andrew Harnik

Source: FOX 10 Phoenix/YouTube

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has cast doubts on the character of an armed deputy who remained outside during last week’s school shooting in Florida, saying he froze or was a “coward”.

Speaking from the White House lawn, Trump said the armed officer “did a poor job”.

“Deputy Sheriff Peterson, I guess his name is. They brought it out I was surprised, but it deserves to be brought out,” Trump said calling out Deputy Scot Peterson by name.

“When it came time to get in 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. He was there for five minutes.

But that’s a case where somebody was outside. They’re trained, they didn’t react properly under pressure or they’re a coward.

It was announced last night that Deputy Scot Peterson was suspended without pay and placed under investigation before choosing to resign.

At a news conference, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer”.

Trump’s criticism of the officer comes days after he suggested arming teachers in response to last week’s school shooting in Pakland, Florida in which 17 people were killed.

Speaking today, Trump said there must be “offensive power” in schools.

You have to have a certain degree of offensive power within the school. It can’t only be defence. You have to have protection within the school and we’re gonna work it out . But we are gonna be very, very powerful, strong on background checks. Especially having to do with people with mental problems.

Trump went on to call 19-year-old shooter Nikolas Cruz “mentally deranged”.

“This person that did this horrible act, he was mentally deranged and everybody knew it for a long period of time,” Trump said.

“I guess they had 38 red flags, 39 red flags, unfortunately they didn’t catch him. They should have caught it. This should have been prevented, so the whole mental situation is very big. So background checks are very important and we have to strengthen up our schools.”

- With reporting by Associated Press

Read: NRA chief criticises ‘politicisation’ of Florida school shooting >

Read: Here is what Trump’s notes for meeting with shooting survivors said >

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Rónán Duffy

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