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Former Parkland, Florida, resource officer charged with failing to confront Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter who killed 14 students and three staff members five years ago fHe was found not guilty on all charges.
Scot Peterson, 60, was charged in 2019 with multiple counts of child neglect after he an internal investigation found that he withdrew while students were being attacked.
Prosecutors also charged Peterson, a 30-year veteran of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, with making a false statement, claiming that he did not hear gunshots.
Peterson, who was fired after the investigation report was released, he pleaded not guilty.
Kristen Gomes, assistant state’s attorney with the Broward County State’s Attorney’s Office, said during closing arguments that Peterson did nothing to find the shooter and confront him.
“As the defendant ran, he left behind an unrestrained killer who spent the next four minutes and 15 seconds roaming the halls at will. Because when Scot Peterson ran, he left them in a building with a rampaging predator,” he said.
Mark Eiglarsh, Peterson’s attorney, argued that his client was being turned into a “sacrificial lamb” by the failures of elected officials and administrators.
In closing arguments he also said that Peterson was unable to accurately detect where the shots were coming from. and neither do other students and teachers.
“The evidence proves that Peterson’s insistence that the echoes of the gunshots prevented him from identifying the gunman’s location is the truth and Peterson did everything he could under the circumstances,” he said.
Peterson faced up to 95 years in state prison if found guilty on all counts.
The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, a high school alumnus, was sentenced to life in prison last year after pleading guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder.
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