• Former student recalls school resource officer saving lives at local middle school

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - A local school resource officer confronted a school shooter several years ago and was able to disarm the student.

    That was not the case in last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    The armed school resource deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School waited outside the school building as the shooting unfolded last week, officials said.

    That deputy later handed in his resignation and President Donald Trump condemned him for his lack of response to the mass shooting that killed 17.

    Trump says deputy who didn't act 'certainly did a poor job'

    Trump said that Scot Peterson "doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children.

    Students will return to the school next Wednesday.

    Fifteen years ago, a Cleveland County school resource officer confronted a school shooter inside Burns Middle School.

    Officer Tim Russ saved countless lives, including former student Tyffani Randall, who is now 26 years old and a mother.

    She is grateful that Russ stepped in, unlike the SRO in Florida.

    Randall remembers only part of that day in 2003.

    A schoolmate walked through Burns Middle School firing shots into classrooms.

    Her teacher locked her class door and turned off the lights.

    "Me and some of my friends, and some other kids (were) praying," Randall said.

    She remembers being afraid.

    "I could have been killed that day,” Randall said. “Anybody could have been killed that day."

    Russ confronted the shooter in a stairwell and tackled him.

    "Without him, there is no telling what would have happened," Randall said.

    She is upset about the lack of action by the SRO in the Florida shooting.

    "I just can't believe that he didn't do his job," Randall said.

    Russ said Friday that the shooter 15 years ago was also identified as a threat to others, just like the shooter in Florida.

    He said he was trained to go in and protect lives.

    Russ also said he was heartbroken when he heard the resource officer in Florida didn't go into the school.

    Russ is retired from the sheriff's department, but is still in law enforcement.

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