The Broward County sheriff’s deputy who is accused of failing to confront the gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is pushing back at claims he is a coward and did not perform his duties on the day 17 people were killed at the school he was charged with protecting.

Scot Peterson issued a statement through his lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo III, saying that he followed Broward County Sheriff’s Office protocol on Feb. 14 and that he didn’t rush into the school because he believed the gunfire was coming from outside, Time reports.

“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.”

Peterson also detailed his efforts to stop alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz, including, he said, initiating the school lockdown and working with school administrators to help arriving officers locate the shooter.

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