Retired Officer’s Trial Begins in Landmark Parkland Shooting Case


Peterson, the school’s armed resource officer at the time, claimed that he didn’t enter the building because he couldn’t determine the source of the gunshots during the attack that claimed the lives of 17 people, making it the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.

Retired Officer's Trial
Retired Officer’s Trial ( Photo: MyMcMurray )

The trial of Scot Peterson, the retired police officer who failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Parkland Shooting in 2018

According to a report by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, Peterson arrived at the building two minutes after the initial shots were fired. Although the shooter was still on the first floor when Peterson arrived, the officer took cover outside while the gunman ascended to the third floor to continue the rampage. Peterson never confronted the shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was later arrested while attempting to flee the scene.

After the tragic event, Peterson faced severe criticism from the families of the victims, who referred to him as a “coward.” He subsequently retired and relocated to a remote town in North Carolina, approximately 750 miles away.

Peterson now finds himself at the center of an unprecedented trial, accused by prosecutors of failing to protect the victims

He has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including seven felony child neglect charges, three for culpable negligence, and one for perjury. The Broward State Attorney’s Office decided to charge Peterson under a Florida law that typically applies to caregivers, arguing that as the school’s resource officer, he was responsible for the safety of the students and staff.

Legal experts have expressed skepticism about using these laws, which pertain to caregivers, to prosecute a law enforcement official. Nonetheless, some parents of the victims are eager to see Peterson convicted, viewing the outcome of the trial as a precedent-setting decision that will impact the nation’s approach to school shootings.


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