Florida officer who avoided Parkland shooter arrested, indicted

Sheriff's deputy who refused to enter building to protect students during high school shooting in Florida charged with child neglect.

David Rosenberg ,

Former Sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson
Former Sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson

A former law enforcement official who remained outside of a Parkland, Florida high school during a deadly mass shooting there last year has been arrested and indicted on 11 criminal charges for failing to protect students.

On February 14th of last year, former student Nikolas Cruz entered the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida carrying a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle.

Cruz opened fire on students and faculty, murdering 17 and wounding 17 more.

During the shooting, the on-site security and law enforcement official, school resource officer Scot Peterson, failed to enter the building where the mass shooting occurred.

As security camera footage from the school confirmed, Peterson, a deputy of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, remained outside of building number 12 during the duration of the shooting, radioing in updates to the sheriff’s office.

Eight days after the shooting, Peterson was suspended without pay by Sheriff Scott Israel.

Authorities launched an investigation into the police response to the massacre – including Peterson’s refusal to enter the building where the shooting was taking place.

On Tuesday, the fourteen-month investigation, which questioned 184 witnesses, culminated in the arrest of the Peterson, who has been charged with 11 counts of child neglect, negligence, and perjury.

If found guilty on all charges, Peterson, now 56 years old, could potentially face up to 100 years in prison.

Investigators found Peterson “did absolutely nothing to mitigate” the shooting, Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Rick Swearingen said in a statement.

“There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.

A police union representative from the Broward Sheriff's Office union criticized the indictment, saying it could set a dangerous precedent for officers assigned to protect schools, WPTV reported.

"Does this now mean that every police officer from now on that works to detail where children are present are now subjected to child neglect charges if something happens?"

Footage of Scot Peterson during Parkland High School shooting