Parkland School Officer Arrested, Accused of 'Complete Inaction' in Shooting that Killed 17
"There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives," a law enforcement release states
A former sheriff’s deputy who allegedly failed to intervene during the 2018 mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people has been arrested and charged, PEOPLE confirms.
Scot Peterson, 56, was the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, during the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at the school. According to a statement from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Peterson was arrested Tuesday and faces seven counts of neglect of a child and three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury.
“The FDLE investigation shows former Deputy Peterson did absolutely nothing to mitigate the MSD shooting that killed 17 children, teachers and staff and injured 17 others,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen in the release. “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”
According to the release, Peterson “refused to investigate the source of gunshots, retreated during the active shooting while victims were being shot and directed other law enforcement who arrived on scene to remain 500 feet away from the building.”
Peterson lost his job about a week after the shooting when it was revealed he never entered the school during the shooting.
An investigative report from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission alleges Peterson hid for nearly 50 minutes after the shooting began. During this time, officers from other agencies entered the school and tried to rescue victims and apprehend the shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.
A lieutenant from the Sunrise Police Department recalled seeing Peterson pacing back and forth outside Building 12, where the shooting took place, and saying, “Oh my God. Oh my God.”
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When the lieutenant asked Peterson what was happening, Peterson allegedly said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. .. Oh my God, I can’t believe this.”
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Peterson, in a 14-page response to the commission’s findings, said he followed protocol and had been unfairly blamed.
“I assessed the situation and acted accordingly to the real time intelligence I assessed on the scene,” he reportedly wrote.
According to the FDLE release, Peterson has been booked into the Broward County Main Jail. It was not immediately clear if he has entered a plea and his attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.
State Atty. Mike Satz said the charges carry a combined prison sentence of almost 100 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Peterson’s bail was set at $102,000, according to the outlet.