Former Broward County Sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson, who was widely criticized for not entering Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Parkland shooting last year, has been arrested on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.
After disgraced Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was removed from his command, new Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony turned his focus to the internal investigation of how seven deputies responded to the tragedy. The Broward County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:
Today, as a result of the continuing internal investigation and disciplinary process, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony officially announced the termination of two deputies who were found to have neglected their duties. The two are former Deputy Scot Peterson and Sergeant Brian Miller. The deputy and sergeant were found to have neglected their duties at MSD High School. They have been terminated and will no longer be privileged to serve as law enforcement deputies for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Subsequent to an administrative discipline hearing at BSO headquarters this afternoon, former Deputy Peterson was taken into custody on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges and booked into the BSO Main Jail.
Peterson, who was branded "a coward" by President Donald Trump, was arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) on "seven counts of neglect of a child and three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury," the FDLE said in a statement.
If convicted, the 11 charges facing Peterson carry a maximum sentence of 96.5 years in state prison. The FDLE statement added:
The investigation shows Peterson 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.
During the investigation, FDLE agents interviewed 184 witnesses, reviewed countless hours of video surveillance, and wrote 212 investigative reports, totaling more than 800 hours of investigation on the case to determine the actions of law enforcement as they responded to the February 14, 2018 school shooting. The investigation received the full cooperation and assistance from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Coral Springs Police Department and all other agencies that responded to the school shooting.
Following the announcement, Hunter Pollack, whose sister Meadow was murdered during the tragedy, responded to the news by writing on Twitter: "Former Broward Deputy Scot Peterson has been arrested on felony charges. He cowered in Parkland while my sister died defenseless and lied about his failure to confront the shooter. I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison."
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was murdered in the tragedy, responded to the news in a statement to The Daily Wire: "Today marks another step in the search for accountability for the February 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school that took the lives of 17 students and teachers, including my 14-year-old daughter, Alaina. Peterson failed in his duty to protect lives that day, standing behind a cement pillar for 48 minutes while students and teachers were slaughtered. After a year of in-depth investigation, I am pleased that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and our State Attorney have brought formal charges against former deputy Scot Peterson."
"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," said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. "There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives."
Sheriff Gregory added: "I was pleased the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office conducted a thorough investigation that yielded the arrest of Scot Peterson. 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."
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