Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Trial Begins For Former School Resource Officer Accused Of Hiding Outside During Parkland Shooting

 Jury selection begins Wednesday in the trial of a former school officer accused of failing to confront the mass killer who gunned down 14 students at a public school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

Scot Peterson, who was tasked with protecting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is charged with seven counts of felony child neglect related to four murdered students and three others who were injured on the third floor during the shooting. The Daily Wire is not naming the shooter due to company policy about not giving notoriety to mass killers.

Victims’ parents dubbed Peterson “the coward of Broward,” expressing their support for the prosecution. Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the victims, stated that Peterson “wouldn’t have gone in with full body armor and a bazooka.” Pollack’s 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was murdered during the shooting.

Peterson, 60, also faces three counts of misdemeanor culpable negligence and a perjury charge for allegedly lying to investigators.  If convicted, Peterson could face nearly a century in prison for the child neglect charges alone and would lose his $104,000 pension.

The National Association of School Resource Officers stated that Peterson’s prosecution is a first. His trial begins as Texas authorities investigate the officers who didn’t confront the Uvalde gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school last May. None of the Texas officers have been charged.

Robert Jarvis, a Nova Southeastern University professor, stated that Peterson deserved to be terminated from his job but described his prosecution as an “overreach” and said Peterson “is being used as a scapegoat” for the “many people [who] failed on February 14,” the day of the tragedy.

Peterson reportedly entered the building with his gun drawn 73 seconds before the shooter arrived, but he retreated rather than confront the shooter.  Peterson then reportedly hid from the gunman in a spot with his weapon drawn for 48 minutes – 45 minutes after the shooting ended.  

He said he thought the shots were coming from a sniper outside, and Peterson’s attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, said 22 defense witnesses also thought the shots were coming from outside the building.


Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on June 14.  For Peterson to be convicted of child neglect, prosecutors must show that he was a “caretaker” of the children under Florida law. Florida is one of a handful of states that allow a six-member jury to try non-capital offenses.

The judge, Martin Fein, noted that courts have traditionally interpreted the Florida statute broadly, finding babysitters and even kidnappers as “caretakers.”  Eiglarsh argues that most police officers are exempt from this classification and that the shooter’s weapon was far superior to Peterson’s. 

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search