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Officer called a 'coward' by Donald Trump says he thought school shooting was outside the building

Trump says he would have tackled the shooter without a weapon.

This image  taken from video provided by Broward County Public Schools shows school resource officer Scot Peterson.
This image taken from video provided by Broward County Public Schools shows school resource officer Scot Peterson.
Image: AP/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump say he would have rushed unarmed into the Florida school targeted by a mass shooter, as the officer accused of cowardice hit back.

Nearly two weeks after the attack in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, the debate on guns in schools continues.

Trump has since called for reforms including tougher background checks on firearm purchases, but the White House has yet to announce support for specific legislation in Congress, where enacting federal gun restrictions faces major obstacles especially in an election year.

During a White House meeting with state governors, Trump said he would have felt compelled to confront the shooter.

“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump said. “You never know until you’re tested.”

Having previously criticised an armed deputy who failed to intervene in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Trump also branded the performance of some local law enforcement “frankly disgusting”.

The deputy, Scot Peterson, pushed back through his lawyer, saying he positioned himself outside a school building because he believed the shots were originating from outside.

“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,” lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo said in a statement.

Parkland School Shooting Aftermath - Florida Teachers and school administrators returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS/ABACA

DiRuzzo said in the news release that Peterson is confident he followed procedures and will be exonerated. Peterson resigned last week after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel accused him of improperly failing to confront the shooter.

Some politicians say Israel needs to go because his office ignored warnings about Nikolas Cruz reported in more than a dozen tipster calls.

Trump, who touted his Second Amendment credentials on the 2016 campaign trail, said he lunched on Sunday with Wayne LaPierre, the head of the powerful National Rifle Association, and told him changes were needed.

“We’re going to do strong background checks. Very strong,” Trump told the governors. “If we see a sicko, I don’t want him having a gun.”

Trump has also called for boosting school security, and controversially, arming some teachers and staff in addition to on-campus guards.

© AFP 2018 with AP reporting

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