MIAMI (AP) — The former Florida deputy who stood outside instead of confronting the gunman during last year’s Parkland school massacre was arrested Tuesday on 11 criminal charges related to his inaction.
Broward State Attorney Mike Satz said in a statement that 56-year-old Scot Peterson faces child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury charges that carry a combined potential maximum prison sentence of nearly 100 years.
Peterson, then a Broward County deputy, was on duty as the school resource officer during the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but never went inside while bullets were flying. Seventeen people died and 17 others were wounded in the attack, many on the building’s third floor after Peterson arrived, investigators said.
One of the victims was 14-year-old Gina Montalto, whose father Tony Montalto said families wanted justice to be done.
“We are happy to see some accountability for this tragedy that took the life of my daughter Gina and 16 other wonderful individuals as well as terribly injured 17 others,” said Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland victim families’ group.
Peterson’s bail was set at $102,000, Satz said. Once released, Peterson will be required to wear a GPS monitor and surrender his passport, and will be prohibited from possessing a firearm, the prosecutor said.
Peterson lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo III didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, he has defended Peterson’s conduct as justified under the circumstances. It also wasn’t immediately clear when Peterson would make his initial court appearance, but typically that occurs the day after an arrest.
The charges follow a 14-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to that agency. The lengthy investigation involved interviews with 184 witnesses, reviewing numerous hours of surveillance videos and compiling 212 investigative reports, FDLE said.
“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,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen in an email statement said. “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”