A former school safety officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were fatally shot, was arrested Tuesday on multiple charges, including child neglect and perjury after he failed to confront the gunman.
Scot Peterson, who worked as a security guard at the school, was charged with seven counts of neglect of a child and three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. Seventeen students, teachers and staff were killed in the shooting by suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz on Feb. 14, 2018. Another 17 were injured.
He was the only other person with a gun when shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire inside the school on February 14, 2018. Seventeen students, teachers and staff were killed in the shooting and another 17 were injured.
Peterson was taken into custody in Broward County after a 15-month investigation which showed that he "refused to investigate the source of the 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," the agency said.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said in a news release that Peterson's 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," Swearingen said. "There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives."
All the facts related to Mr. Peterson's failure to act during the MSD massacre clearly warranted both termination of employment and criminal charges. It's never too late for accountability and justice," Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony added.
Peterson, who was fired Tuesday from the Broward County Sheriff's Office, said during a June 2018 interview with NBC's "Today" that he did not go into the building because of miscommunication. "I didn't get it right," he said. "But it wasn't because of some, 'Oh, I don't want to go into that building. Oh, I don't want to face somebody in there.' It wasn't like that at all." "Those are my kids in there," he added. "I never would have sat there and let my kids get slaughtered. Never."