State arrests Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. officer on charges of negligence, neglect, and perjury

Then-Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, who was assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the February 14, 2018 shooting, is seen in this still image captured from the school surveillance video released by Broward County Sheriff's Office on March 15, 2018.

The former Broward County sheriff’s deputy who failed to intervene in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of child neglect, negligence and perjury, the state announced Tuesday.

Scot Peterson, who was the school resource officer assigned to protect students at the Broward County high school where 17 students and staff were shot to death in February 2018, was arrested and booked into the Broward County Jail after a 15-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The 56-year-old former officer is charged with seven counts of neglect of a child and three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury, according to the FDLE.

The investigation, which was conducted with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, showed 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.”

“The FDLE investigation shows former Deputy Peterson did absolutely nothing to mitigate the (Stoneman Douglas) 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.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said the high school shooting “was a horrible tragedy and it is devastating to think that the loss of innocent lives of students and faculty could have been prevented.”

“As a mother, I cannot imagine the heartbreak and pain the families of the victims and the whole Parkland community have felt every day since Feb. 14, 2018,” Moody said in a statement. “I want to thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Broward State Attorney’s Office for investigating this tragedy and holding Scot Peterson responsible for his inaction.”

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