Scot Peterson is the former Broward County Deputy who came under fire after he failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland during the mass shooting in February, 2018. Peterson served as a school resource officer and was on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the deadly shooting which left 17 people dead. Law enforcement officials say that Peterson heard gunshots inside the school but did not go into the building to find the shooter and rescue the people inside.
Following the shooting, Peterson was suspended for failing to protect the school. He resigned soon afterward. On June 4, Peterson was arrested and now faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with his behavior during the mass shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
Peterson Was Charged with 7 Counts of Child Neglect
The 56 year old Peterson has been charged with seven counts of neglect of a child, three counts of culpable negligence, and one count of perjury, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials. Peterson was arrested in Broward County and is awaiting his next court date.
The arrest comes after a long investigation into the response by Peterson and other law enforcement officials to the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Law enforcement officials say the investigation showed that Peterson had refused to investigate the source of gunshots and that he had actively retreated while the shooting was underway. The investigation also found that Peterson had ordered other law enforcement officers to stay at least 500 feet away from the school building while the shooting was underway.
Peterson Could Face 96 Years in Prison if Convicted
Peterson was arrested in Broward County on June 4 and charged with 11 felonies and misdemeanors, including 7 counts of child neglect, for failing to protect people inside of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland during the mass shooting on February 14, 2018.
He faces up to 96 and a half years in prison if he is convicted on all of the charges facing him. His bail has been set at $102,000. He’s currently in jail awaiting his next court appearance.
Several months after the shooting, Peterson wrote a letter to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission insisting that he’d done nothing wrong. He said that he acted according to his training; he also claimed that he was being turned into a scapegoat by law enforcement officials and members of the public. He wrote, “…my law enforcement actions during the horrific school shooting on February 14, 2018, were consistent with my training and based on my ‘real-time intelligence’ on the scene.” He said his actions were “…in compliance with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Active Shooter Policy.”
Authorities Say There Is ‘No Question’ that Peterson’s ‘Inaction’ Cost People Their Lives
Peterson was nicknamed the “Coward of Broward” after the shooting, due to his failure to take action to stop the horrific massacre of innocents. President Trump also singled him out for blame after the shooting, saying, “When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job. There’s no question about that,” Trump said. “That’s a case where somebody was outside, they’re trained, they didn’t act properly or under pressure or they were a coward. It was a real shock to the police department.”
Peterson was arrested on June 4 and slapped with 11 felony and misdemeanor charges for failing to take action to stop the deadly shooting. Law enforcement officials say there is “no question” that his inaction cost people their lives.
“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,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a statement. “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”