A school resource officer criticized for his response to the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is facing multiple felony charges for allegedly failing to respond to reports of an active shooter.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Broward County Sheriff Deputy Scot Peterson, who was a School Resource Deputy (SRD) at the time of the fatal shooting, resigned in the same month of the deadly massacre that killed 17 people, amid outrage within his department and among the victims’ families for his handling of the emergency.
Peterson, who was reportedly the only armed deputy on the campus on February 14, 2018, when Nikolas Cruz opened fire in a building there, did not enter the school building despite reports that a gunman was inside.
Citing a news release from the state attorney’s office, CNN reports that Peterson is now being charged with 11 counts, include felony charges of child neglect as well as culpable negligence and perjury.
Peterson is reportedly in custody at the Broward County Jail, and his bail is expected to exceed $100,000.
As CNN notes, video surveillance footage from the day of the shooting showed Peterson crouched outside the building where shots were being fired. In addition to the 17 people killed, most of them students, 17 more people were injured.
CNN reports that Peterson was officially fired on Tuesday during a disciplinary hearing, but that he had until this point been collecting a pension.
Family members of students killed in the massacre shared their reactions with CNN.
“I have no comment except to say rot in hell, Scot Peterson,” Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg, said.
“You could have saved some of the 17. You could have saved my daughter. You did not and then you lied about it and you deserve the misery coming your way.”
“Peterson failed in his duty to protect lives that day, standing behind a cement pillar for 48 minutes while students and teachers were slaughtered,” Ryan Petty, the father of victim Alaina Petty, told the news station.
“After a year of in-depth investigation, I am pleased that the (state authorities) have brought formal charges against former deputy Scot Peterson,” he said.
CNN reports that they are seeking comment from Peterson.
[Feature image: Scot Peterson/Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP]