Former deputy who stayed outside during Parkland school shooting faces criminal charges

Former deputy who stayed outside during Parkland school shooting faces criminal charges

A former sheriff's deputy faces criminal charges for his controversial response to the Parkland, Florida shooting massacre, law enforcement officials said.

On February 14, 2018, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire, killing 17 people. (Arguably 19 now, since two survivors took their own lives.)

School resource officer Scot Peterson, 56, was on campus during the shooting and security footage revealed he did not enter the building. As a result, several people branded him a 'coward,' believing he could have confronted the shooter, and thereby saved precious lives.

Law enforcement officials suspended Peterson, and he resigned before their investigation of the shooting began.

"Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day," his attorney Joseph DiRuzzo III stated. "Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance."

Watch a Broward County police official speak about Peterson's actions

DiRuzzo was wildly mistaken. After a 15-month investigation, which included reviews of video surveillance and interviews with 184 witnesses, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found Peterson's actions inappropriate.

The department said he did not investigate the source of gunfire, retreated during the shooting while victims were still under attack and directed other officers to remain 500 feet away from the building.

“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, per The New York Times. "There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives."

Peterson has been charged with neglect of a child, culpable negligence and perjury.