‘Most hated cop in America’ defends his actions; ‘How can they keep saying I did nothing?’ asks disgraced Parkland officer

Parkland, Fla. (Fox News) — The Florida sheriff dubbed a “coward” by President Trump for not engaging Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz is now making his first comments to the media since the massacre occurred, claiming he did everything he could as the attack unfolded.

The actions of Scot Peterson, a former resource officer, have been routinely criticized by the public and in the media since surveillance footage surfaced of him standing outside the school in Parkland on Valentine’s Day as Cruz killed 17 people inside.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post published Monday, Peterson said he remembered thinking that the gunshots were initially fireworks set off by “probably a few kids acting like idiots” and that everything that day happened “all so fast.

“How can they keep saying I did nothing?” he recalled saying to his girlfriend one morning after the shooting. “I’m getting on the radio to call in the shooting. I’m locking down the school. I’m clearing kids out of the courtyard. They have the video and the call logs. The evidence is sitting right there.”

Peterson said in the minds of the public, you are either a “hero or a coward, and that’s it.”

“I’ve cut that day up a thousand ways with a million different what-if scenarios, but the bottom line is I was there to protect, and I lost 17,” he added.

The Washington Post reported that Peterson, who has since retired from his decades-long career and is collecting a $100,000 yearly pension, considered moving out of state and changing his name. But for now, the 55-year-old is staying put in Boynton Beach, inside a home whose front door is mostly covered by a white sheet to ensure privacy.

Peterson told the Washington Post that he remained in place during the shooting because he didn’t want to expose himself to the attacker – and was unclear where the bullets were coming from.

“We don’t have any description yet,” he reportedly said into his radio while the massacre was happening. “We just hear shots, what appear to be shots fired.”

Peterson later left his position to give a Coral Springs SWAT team his master set of keys to the classrooms when they arrived to clear buildings, according to the newspaper.

At that point, he first walked by the entrance of the building at Marjory Stoneman where the shooting happened, and Peterson saw two victims in its hallway.

“I couldn’t get him,” he said he remembered telling his girlfriend after he came home later that night, before his image was plastered all over the media in the coming weeks, with criticism coming along with it. “It was my job, and I didn’t find him.”

Peterson told the Washington Post that since the shooting, he has had trouble sleeping.

“I was scanning for the shooter, looking over the windows, the sidewalk, the rooftop. I thought maybe it was a sniper like in Las Vegas,” he said. “I just didn’t know.”

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BACKLASH: Firearms makers dumping Dick’s Sporting Goods over push for stricter gun control

Corapolis, Pa (National Review) — A number of prominent gun manufacturers have announced that they will no longer do business with Dick’s Sporting Goods in response to the retailer’s support for stricter gun-control legislation.

After banning the sale of assault-style weapons and raising the minimum age for purchasing a gun to 21 in the wake of February’s Parkland, Fla. school shooting, Dick’s hired three Washington, D.C. lobbyists to fight for gun control on Capitol Hill, according to federal documents obtained by the Federalist. In response, the parent company of Mossberg guns, O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc., announced Wednesday that it would no longer sell guns to Dick’s.

“It has come to our attention that Dick’s Sporting Goods recently hired lobbyists on Capitol Hill to promote additional gun control,” CEO Iver Mossberg wrote in a press release. “Make no mistake, Mossberg is a staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution and our Second Amendment rights, and we fully disagree with Dick’s Sporting Goods’ recent anti-Second Amendment actions.” Mossberg went on to encourage customers to “visit one of the thousands of pro-Second Amendment firearm retailers” instead of Dick’s.

That announcement came one day after MKS Supply, which manufactures Hi-Point firearms, cut ties with Dick’s.

“We believe that refusing to sell long guns to adults under age 21, while many young adults in our military are not similarly restricted, is wrong. We believe that villainizing modern sporting rifles in response to pressure from uninformed, anti-gun voices is wrong,” MKS Supply president Charles Brown wrote in the Tuesday statement. “We believe that hiring lobbyists to oppose American citizens’ freedoms secured by the Second Amendment is wrong. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field & Stream, in purportedly doing all of these things, have demonstrated that they do not share our values. [We’re] standing by the American people by refusing any further sales to Dick’s Sporting Goods & Field & Stream.”

A third manufacturer, Springfield Armory, discontinued its relationship with Dick’s last week.

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FIGHTING BACK: NRA responds to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to overturn Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a statement posted to its website, the National Rifle Association, the nation’s most powerful gun-rights group, responded Tuesday to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ New York Times op-ed that “the time has come to overturn the Second Amendment”.

“The 97-year-old retired justice has long held the opinion that American citizens do not have the individual right to own a firearm for self-protection,” the Second-Amendment rights group wrote.

“Emboldened by the mainstream media, the gun-control lobby is no longer distancing themselves from the radical idea of repealing the Second Amendment and banning all firearms. The protestors in last week’s march told us with their words and placards that the current debate is not about fake terms like “common sense” gun regulation. It’s about banning all guns,” the statement continued.

“The men and women of the National Rifle Association, along with the majority of the American people and the Supreme Court, believe in the Second Amendment right to self-protection and we will unapologetically continue to fight to protect this fundamental freedom,” the statement concluded.

The organization has come under increased fire since a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 victims were killed.

The shooting sparked a movement from anti-gun groups to ban the use of certain weapons and called for stricter background checks nationwide.

Despite the backlash, the NRA says it will continue to fight for the right to bear arms, which is protected by tbe Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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LOCK AND LOAD: Hero cop’s actions during Maryland school shooting sends ‘clear message’ on the need to arm school officials, says advocate

GREAT MILLS, MD. — The heroic actions taken by a quick-thinking school official credited with stopping a school shooter on Tuesday proves the need to arm school officials, says one school policing advocate.

“It should send a clear message to any would-be attacker that if you are going to bring that level of violence to one of our schools, where there is a proper trained [School Resource Officer] in place, be prepared to be met with force,” Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, told Fox News on Wednesday.

Canady’s comments follow an incident on Tuesday during which Blaine Gaskill, a St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office deputy at Maryland’s Great Mills High School, took down a suspect who had opened fire in the school, injuring at least two victims.

“We would like to see guns in schools in the hands of the right person. We’re calling for an SRO — at least one — in every school in the country,” said Canady.

In recent years rocked by a series of deadly school shootings, Gaskill’s actions represent only the second occurrence in which an armed school official was available to take down an active shooter.

The first incident, which happened in March 2001, occurred when Rich Agundez Jr., an officer assigned to Granite Hills High School outside of San Diego, fired five shots at a school shooter, disengaging him until police officials arrived.

According to reports, Agundez went on to receive the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor in honor for his actions.

“This is a situation yesterday where it’s pretty clear the SRO did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Canady told Fox.

Tuesday’s shooting has sparked new credence toward President Donald Trump’s call to arm teachers in America’s schools. The president said he was leaning heavily toward that option after a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida resulted in the deaths of 17 students.

The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest and most powerful pro-Second Amendment group, says it too supports arming America’s teachers and school officials.

“When it comes to the safety of our politicians, celebrities & sports stars, the answer is clear—armed security, the NRA tweeted. “It’s the only security solution that is proven to work, which is why #NRA has called repeatedly for trained armed security in every American school.”

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AN EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE: Shooter dead, two injured after gunman opens fire at Maryland high school

GREAT MILLS, MD — Two students are confirmed injured after a shooter reportedly opened fire inside a Maryland high school Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at at Great Mills High School, located 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. just before 8:00 am EST.

According to eyewitnesses, the suspect, who has not yet been identified, walked into the 1,600-student school and fired a round at a 16-year-old female student. A 14-year-old male was also shot before a school resource officer neutralized the suspect by returning fire. The shooter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital. The female is listed in critical condition. The male is reported to be in stable condition. Neither victim has yet been identified.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference late Tuesday morning. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”

“This is your worst nightmare,” Cameron added.

Students who witnessed the event said they never thought something like this could happen in their tight-knit community.

“I heard one shot and when we ran, we saw a teacher and he was looking at us with a confused look,” Terrence Rhames, a senior at Great Mills, told NBC News. “We were trying to figure out if this is real.”

“It was just shocking. You hear about shootings — you never think would happen to you,” Rhames added.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that his office was “closely monitoring” the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation at Great Mills High School. @MDSP is in touch with local law enforcement and ready to provide support. Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders,” Hogan tweeted.

According to a report posted to The Bay Net, Jake Heibel, the principal of the school, told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting but found they were “not substantiated.”

Also last month, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department announced it had arrested a 39-year-old man and two teenage boys for “threats of mass violence” after the teens made threats about carrying out a school shooting at Leonardtown High School, a high school located about 10 miles from Great Mills. Police officials said a search warrant resulted in the discovery of semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition found in the suspects’ possession.

The incident comes just one month after a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead.

The Parkland shooting resulted in The White House’s proposal of funding firearms training for school personnel in an effort to protect America’s students.

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EMINEM UNDER FIRE AFTER SLAMMING SECOND AMENDMENT GROUPS DURING STAGE PERFORMANCE: ‘NRA loves their guns more than our children’

 

INGLEWOOD, CA — Rapper Marshall Mathers, better known by his stage name Eminem, is facing backlash after criticizing pro-gun groups during an iHeartRadio performance Sunday night in Inglewood, California.

“This whole country is going nuts, and the NRA is our way/They’re responsible for this whole production/They hold the strings, they control the puppet/And they threaten to take donor bucks/So they know the government won’t do nothing and no one’s budging/Gun owners clutching their loaded weapons/They love their guns more than our children,” the singer wrapped after being introduced on stage by Alex Moscou, a survivor of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that occured on February 14.

“Gun owners clutching their loaded weapons/ they love their guns more than our children,” the singer continued rapping from his song “Nowhere Fast,” which bashes the Second Amendment and gun owners.

Prior to introducing Eminem to the awaiting crowd, Moscou said he and other survivors were “tired of hearing politicians sending their thoughts and prayers to us, and doing nothing to make the necessary changes to prevent this tragedy from happening again.”

This isn’t the first time that Mathers’ on-stage performances have turned political.
He raised eyebrows last year after unleashing a hate-fueled rhyme against Republicans and president Donald Trump in which he challenged the Commander-in-Chief to respond.

“Trump, when it comes to giving a shit you’re as stingy as I am/ Except when it comes to having the balls to go against me, you hide ’em,” he wrapped. “‘Cause you don’t got the fucking nuts like an empty asylum/ Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for.”

Although Eminem’s gun bashing lyrics were was received by fans in attendance, the singer’s critics were quick to point out his own gun-related transgressions, including being charged with possession of a concealed weapon and assault in the year 2000.

Eminem also received probation and was ordered to perform community service for committing another gun-related crime back in 2001.

Calls for statement from the NRA were met with, “We think Mr. Mathers’ reputation speaks for itself.”

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PROTECTING OUR KIDS: Trump unveils plan to ‘harden’ schools against mass shootings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Sunday announced plans to help states pay to train teachers in the use of firearms in response to a series of deadly shootings in U.S. schools.

The plan does not yet incorporate the president’s earlier pledge to raise the age limit for purchasing certain firearms from 18 to 21 but does include the option to allow trained teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons on campus as a means of protecting students from armed intruders.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could end the attack very quickly,” Trump said last month during a bipartisan meeting on gun control.

To help jumpstart the effort, Trump has directed the Justice Department to aid states in partnering with local law enforcement to provide “rigorous firearms training to specifically qualified volunteer school personnel,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council.

Reiterating its call to improve background check systems and for states to pass temporary, court-issued Risk Protection Orders that would allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals who pose risks to themselves and others and temporarily prevent them from buying firearms, the White House described the effort as a promise kept by the president to help keep America’s children safe and to help “harden” schools from violence. The move comes in response to a February 14 mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 victims were killed and dozens more were injured.

“Today we are announcing meaningful actions, steps that can be taken right away to help protect students,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who will chair a commission to oversee the project.

“Far too often, the focus” after such shootings “has been only on the most contentious fights, the things that have divided people and sent them into their entrenched corners,” said DeVos during a call with reporters on Sunday evening.

During the call, DeVos also announced the White House’s urging for Congress to pass a second bill that would create a federal grant program to help train students, teachers, and school officials on how to identify early warning signs of potential violence and focus on early intervention.

While Republican lawmakers were quick to praise the president’s efforts, Democrats condemned the plan, saying the changes simply weren’t enough to ensure safety in America’s schools.

Calling the plan “weak on security” Sen. Bob Casey, (D)-Pa., referred to the proposal as “an insult to the victims of gun violence.”

“When it comes to keeping our families safe, it’s clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are all talk and no action,” Casey said in a released statement.

The House is expected to vote on the STOP School Violence Act sometime next week.

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THE PLOT THICKENS: FBI now admits to 2 prior reports on alleged Parkland shooter

PARKLAND, FL — In a closed-door briefing Tuesday with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committee, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich admitted that investigators had received two prior warnings regarding alleged Parkland high school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz, who officials say killed 17 people and wounded dozens more during a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, reportedly posted multiple threats to commit a school shooting online.

In a summary released Wednesday, Bowdich cited two separate tips the FBI received, notifying them of Cruz’s comments, one in September 2017 and another in January 2018. Both tips, Bowdich admitted, were mishandled, including one in which a FBI call taker “did not ask any standard investigative probing questions.”

The first tipster to notify the FBI, Ben Bennight, says he saw a comment posted to his YouTube channel “BenTheBondsman” from a poster identifying himself as “nikolas cruz” which read:”I’m going to be a professional school shooter”. Bennight, a , a bail bondsman at AFAB Bail Bonds in D’Iberville, Mississippi, took a screenshot of the comment and emailed it to the FBI on Sept. 24, 2017.

Special Agent Rob Lasky, special agent in charge of Miami Division, confirmed Bennight’s report, but says investigators at the time were unable to track Cruz’s identity.

“In 2017, the FBI received information about a comment made on a YouTube channel,” Lasky said in a statement on February 15. “No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment. The FBI conducted database reviews, checks, but was unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment.”

On Jan. 5, 2018, a second tip, this time anonymous, called the FBI’s Public Access Line, located in Clarksburg, W.Va., to warn officials about Cruz. According to the FBI, the caller cited concerns about “Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.”

According to Bowdich, officials failed to follow up on the call using proper protocol.

“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” said Bowdich. “The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.”

The FBI is reviewing its handling of the case and has been directed to report its findings to Congress for follow up.

Florida Town Of Parkland In Mourning, After Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Kills 17

 

 

 

 

 

BATTLE FOR THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Trump faces backlash over ‘due process’ fiasco

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Thursday faced fierce backlash from his own constituents over comments he made Wednesday on gun control.

Speaking at a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to discuss school safety, President Trump said he was in favor of gun confiscation without due process if it meant making America’s children safer.

“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump told those in attendance. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The president’s comments quickly went viral on social media, outraging those who took the statement as a direct attack on the Second Amendment.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.,said Trump’s suggestion “took his breath away”.

“I have to admit that the idea of taking a person’s property before the due process — that did take my breath away a little bit,” Toomey told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (https://tinyurl.com/y957huqp).

“Doesn’t work that way in America,” Toomey added.

The NRA also came out swinging against the president’s comments.

“While [Wednesday’s] meeting made for great TV, the gun control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told The Hill (https://tinyurl.com/yam4b98n). “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.”

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska also spoke out against Trump’s call to override the constitutional right to due process, stating he felt the president was being manipulated by leftist agendas.

“We’re not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them,” Sasse told CNN (https://tinyurl.com/yazw5xxm).

Even Breitbart News, a media publication which has long supported the Trump agenda, came out guns blazing against Trump on Thursday. “Trump the Gun Grabber: Cedes Dems’ Wish List— Bump Stocks, Buying Age, ‘Assault Weapons,’ Background Checks,” it’s headline read (https://tinyurl.com/ybd9pjcu).

Taking to Twitter, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that if the president’s proposal on due process were to be implemented, it would amount to no due process at all.

“Due process comes first or it isn’t due process. This is true no matter which party is writing the bills or in control of the White House,” Paul wrote (https://tinyurl.com/y9ouw46e).

Just two weeks ago, the president complained that his former top aide, Rob Porter, was unfairly forced to resign his White House position after both of his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence, claims he said at the time amounted to “a mere allegation.”

“Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” Trump tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/yd6l4fp3).

The president’s critics were quick to call out the president over the presumed “hypocrisy”.

“For Trump, due process is a problem when people think Rob Porter is guilty of beating his ex-wives, but not a problem when government seizes guns from citizens,” Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative and Second Amendment advocate, tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/y9ljes7l).

Critics on the left, who have long pushed for stricter gun control laws, said if former president Barack Obama had called for a violation of due process, Republicans would have called for his immediate removal from office.

“It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that some Republican members of Congress would have called for Barack Obama’s impeachment if he had ever called for taking people’s guns away without due process,” The Washington Post’s James Hohmann said on the matter (https://tinyurl.com/y8ozyrbu).

Wednesday’s meeting came in the wake of a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed and more than a dozen more were wounded.
The shooting led to calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and background checks.

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‘HE JUST SNAPPED’: Teacher taken into custody after allegedly opening fire in Georgia school

DALTON, GA — A teacher was taken into custody Wednesday after police say he opened fire inside a north Georgia school.

Dalton, Georgia police said a teacher, identified as Randal Davidson, was arrested without incident after initially barricading himself inside a classroom at Dalton High School, a public school located about 90 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Police were called to the school after a witness said Davidson fired at least one shot then locked himself inside the classroom.

According to a report published by local affiliate WSB-TV (https://tinyurl.com/yba4eq3j), the school was immediately placed on lockdown.

One student was injured while attempting to flee the school, the Dalton Police Department tweeted, but no other students or faculty members were reported injured in the incident.

No one knows what triggered Wednesday’s incident, but witnesses say they are shocked by the events.

“I don’t know what happened. He just snapped, that’s all I can think,” said one woman who did not want her name revealed. “It’s so scary. You just never think something like this could happen here.”

Parents were instructed to pick up their children at the nearby Northwest Georgia Trade Center.

Police have identified the weapon used in the incident as a handgun.

The shooting follows an incident on February 14 in Parkland, Florida where 17 students were killed in a mass shooting. The alleged shooter in that incident was also taken into custody.

The Parkland school shooting triggered a raging debate between gun rights proponents and gun control advocates over the need for stricter gun laws.

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