BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A former Florida deputy who failed to respond in any meaningful way during the deadly 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has been found not guilty on all 11 counts against him.
Scot Peterson, 60, was assigned as a school resource officer with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office on February 14, 2018, when gunman Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 students, teachers and staff members with an AR-15 rifle at the high school, and wounded another 17 people. As the verdict was read Thursday, Peterson broke down in tears, the New York Post reported.
Peterson had been charged with seven counts of neglect of a child, along with three culpable negligence raps as well as a perjury beef. He was taken into custody 15 months after the mass murder, which also exposed the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to scrutiny, and ultimately cost Sheriff Scott Israel his job.
Cruz’ slaughtering of 17 people is one of the worst mass shootings in the nation’s history. In the widely publicized aftermath of the bloodbath, Peterson was widely criticized for his inaction as he made no attempt to locate the source of gunfire that rang out on multiple floors during the shooting spree. However, many also argued that his cowardice should not have subjected him to arrest and possible imprisonment.
Cruz was sentenced to life in prison last November after a jury failed to unanimously recommend the death penalty as required by Florida law.