The first trial of a law enforcement officer for actions during an on-campus shooting in American history ended on Thursday when a Florida sheriff’s deputy was found not guilty of felony child abuse and other counts for failing to act during the 2018 Parkland school shooting.
Scot Peterson, a former deputy for Broward County, sobbed as the verdicts were announced. Over four days, the jury deliberated for 19 hours.
Peterson, his family, and friends rushed into a group embrace after the court session ended, cheering, crying, and whooping. Peterson’s private eye Kevin Bolling pursued Chris Killoran, the senior prosecutor, and said something. Turning around, Killoran gave him a stern “Way to be a good winner” and smacked him on the shoulder. The defense team then pushed Killoran outside the courtroom.
“I regained my life. As he left the courthouse, Peterson embraced his wife, Lydia Rodriguez, and his attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, saying, “We’ve got our lives back. “For so long, it has been an emotional rollercoaster. He was making a 1 in the morning call to Mark.
He said that victims should never be forgotten.
According to Peterson, only that monster (Nikolas Cruz) was at fault. “None of the law enforcement officers present at the site did it. Everyone tried their best with the knowledge we had.
Eventually, Peterson said, he intends to get down with the Parkland parents and wives and tell them “the truth” that he did everything he could.
“I would adore speaking with them. I have no issues, he declared. “I’m over there.”
Peterson, the campus deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was accused of failing to stop shooter Nikolas Cruz during his six-minute rampage on February 14, 2018, inside a three-story, 1200-classroom facility, which left 17 people dead.
He could have received nearly 100 years in prison, although a sentence approaching that length would have been highly unlikely given the circumstances and his clean record. He also could have lost his $104,000 annual pension.
During their two-week presentation, Prosecutors called to the witness stand students, teachers, and law enforcement officers who testified about the horror they experienced and how they knew where Cruz was. Some said they knew for sure that the shots were coming from the 1200 building. Prosecutors also called a training supervisor who testified Peterson did not follow protocols for confronting an active shooter.
During his two-day presentation, Peterson’s attorney, Eiglarsh, called several deputies who arrived during the shooting and students and teachers who testified they did not think the shots were coming from the 1200 building. Peterson, who did not testify, has said that because of echoes, he could not pinpoint the shooter’s location.
Peterson’s lawyer, Eiglarsh, summoned many officers who came during the shooting and students and instructors who claimed they did not believe the rounds were coming from the 1200 building during his two-day presentation. Peterson, who opted not to give a testimony, has asserted that echoes prevented him from identifying the shooter’s position.
Security footage reveals that 36 seconds after Cruz’s attack started, Peterson left his office and hopped into a cart with two unarmed civilian security officers roughly 100 yards (92 meters) away from the 1200 building. They arrived at the structure after a minute.
Peterson exited the cart close to the first-floor hallway’s east door. Cruz was shooting his semiautomatic AR-15 weapon from the other end of the corridor.
Peterson did not open the door because he was not donning a bulletproof vest. Instead, he sought shelter 75 feet (23 meters) away in a nearby building’s alcove while keeping his rifle pulled. Long after the gunfire was over, and other police officers had assaulted the structure; he remained inside for 40 minutes.
Peterson worked in education for over three decades, including nine years at Stoneman Douglas. Shortly after the shooting, he retired and was subsequently retroactively dismissed.
Cruz’s jury was divided on whether or not to execute him. The former Stoneman Douglas student, now 24 years old, was subsequently given a life sentence.