The school resource officer who was on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when a gunman open fired and killed 17 people was arrested, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced Tuesday.
Deputy Scot Peterson, 56, formerly of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with seven felony counts of neglect of a child, three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury.
“There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
The charges come after a 15-month-long investigation that found Peterson “did absolutely nothing” during the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at the Parkland high school that claimed the lives of 17 staff and students ,and injured 17 more, the agency said in a press release.
The agency alleged Peterson “refused to investigate the source of gunshots, retreated during the active shooting while victims were being shot and directed other law enforcement who arrived on scene to remain 500 feet away from the building” as suspect Nikolas Cruz, then 19, opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle.
Peterson has been under public fire ever since the shooting, with even President Trump calling the security guard a “coward” in the days following the incident.
Peterson has spoken out previously, saying he would have done things differently if given the chance, though he insists he followed protocol.
"It's haunting," Peterson told The Washington Post four months after the attack. "The bottom line is I was there to protect and I lost."
Peterson has been booked into the Broward County Main Jail. He has not yet entered a plea.