The Florida deputy who knew to gunman was loose at the parkland
Scot Peterson was on duty as a resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as he was shooting but never entered the building while bullets were flying. He was charged with child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury – allegations that carry a potential maximum sentence of nearly 100 years.
In the weeks after the attack, Peterson was seen on video surveillance rushing with staff members. When they arrived, Peterson pulled his weapon and went forward but then retreated and took up position outside, where he stood with his gun drawn.
The agency said, "The charges follow a 14-month investigation, the interviews reports and investigated reports, the agency said."
Peterson "absolutely nothing to mitigate" the shooting, 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."
Lori Alhadeff, whose 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, was killed, said she was surprised but happy to hear of Peterson's arrest. When she heard there was shooting.
"I told her to hide, that help was on the way. "Well, Peterson was that help, but he froze, and he failed us all that day," Alhadeff said. "He was supposedly the good guy with the gun who was supposed to meet the threat, and he let us all down."
Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina Montalto, also 14, died in the attack, said families wanted justice to be done.
"We are happy to see some accountability for this tragedy," said Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland victim families' group.
Peterson, 56, was jailed on $ 102,000 bail. Once released, he will be required to wear GPS monitor and his passport and will be prohibited from possessing a gun, the prosecutor said.
Peterson lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo III. In the past, he has defended Peterson's conduct as justified under the circumstances.
It was immediately clear when Peterson would make his initial court appearance. That typically occurs the day after an arrest.
Sen. Rick Scott, at Republican who was Florida governor of the shooting, initiated the law enforcement and said Tuesday in a statement that he was glad the investigation was finished.
"Now it 's time for justice to be served," Scott said.
After the shooting, Peterson took retirement rather than accept a suspension.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said he has now been formally fired. Another deputy, former Sgt. Brian Miller, was also fired, although he faces no criminal charges.
"It’s never too late for accountability and justice," Tony said.
David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said key to the case will be the culpable negligence charge, which essentially means an "utter disregard for the safety of others."
"Weinstein added." Weinstein added "Focusing on the care he was responsible for."
The perjury charge stems from a statement Investigators determined through video, witnesses and other evidence that was not true.
The arrest is the latest fallout from investigations into the shooting.
Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended then-Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for "neglect of duty and incompetence" over the department's actions that day. Israel is appealing that decision to the state Senate and said he intends to run again next year.
The case also spawned a state commission that issued to 458-page reports deputies "may" compare an active shooter rather than "shall" do so.
The commission also recommended voluntary arming of teachers, which state lawmakers approved this year.
The chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, said in an interview that the charges against Peterson were "absolutely warranted."
Peterson "is a coward, a failure and a criminal," Gualtieri said. "There is no doubt in my mind that because he didn't act, people were killed."
Nikolas Cruz, 20, faces the death penalty if convicted of the first-degree murder charges filed in the attack. His lawyers have said Cruz would plead guilty in return for a life sentence, but prosecutors have refused that offer.
Cruz is expected to go on trial in early 2020.