A former Florida sheriff’s deputy is about to be tried on charges he failed to confront the gunman who murdered 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland high school five years ago.
Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson was on duty as the resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the February 2018 shooting but never entered the building while bullets were flying.
Prosecutors charged Peterson with seven counts of felony child neglect for four students killed and three counts of misdemeanor culpable negligence for the adults shot on the third floor, The Associated Press reports.
Peterson arrived at the building with his gun drawn 73 seconds before Cruz reached that floor, but instead of entering, he cowardly backed away as gunfire sounded. He didn’t leave his hiding spot for 48 minutes. That was 45 minutes after the shooting ended and 40 minutes after off-campus officers stormed inside, finding carnage on the first and third floors. Cruz had fled.
When confronted about his actions, Peterson said he didn’t know where the shots were coming from.
Peterson also faces a perjury charge for allegedly lying to investigators. He could get nearly a century in prison if convicted on the child neglect counts and lose his $104,000 annual pension.
Jury selection begins Wednesday, according to the AP.