Ex-School Deputy Scot Peterson Arrested on Charges of Neglect of Duty in Parkland Massacre

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Scot Peterson, the school security officer branded a coward for his inaction during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been arrested for neglect of duty, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony announced Tuesday.

Peterson, 56, had been nationally heckled and vilified for failing to confront the former student who gunned down and killed 17 students and staff at the Parkland school on Feb. 14, 2018.

“It’s never too late for accountability and justice,” Sheriff Tony said.

Peterson has been booked into the Broward Main Jail on 11 criminal charges, including child neglect, culpable negligence, and perjury. He also was fired.

“My heart is just beating because we’re over a year here and this is just now happening," said Gena Hoyer, mother of 14-year-old Luke, who died in the shooting. “This is long overdue.”

“He needs to go to jail and he needs to serve a lifetime in prison for not going in that day and taking down the threat that led to the death of our loved ones,” said Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, 14, also died that day. “It was his duty to go into that building and to engage the threat and he froze and he did nothing.”

Peterson's arrest comes after a 15-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

The investigation showed Peterson refused to investigate where the gunshots were coming from, retreated during the gunfire as victims were being shot, and directed other law enforcement who arrived on scene to remain 500 feet away from the building, FDLE spokeswoman Jessica Cary said in an emailed statement.

“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.”

Also terminated was Sgt. Brian Miller.

“[Peterson and Miller] were found to have neglected their duties at MSD High School,” Tony said in an emailed statement.

Peterson was arrested Tuesday afternoon after an administrative discipline hearing at the sheriff’s office headquarters on Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

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If convicted as charged, Peterson could face a maximum of nearly 97 years in state prison. His bond has been set at $102,000.

“We cannot fulfill our commitment to always protect the security and safety of our Broward County community without doing a thorough assessment of what went wrong that day,” Tony said. “I am committed to address deficiencies and improving the Broward Sheriff’s Office.”

Peterson is facing seven felony counts of child neglect, three misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence, and one misdemeanor count of perjury, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

The investigation included 184 witness interviews, review of countless hours of video surveillance, and resulted in 212 investigative reports and more than 800 hours of investigation, Cary said.

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