Ex-Parkland SRO Found Not Guilty of All Charges for Failure to Act During School Shooting

Scot Peterson was put on trial because he didn’t rush into the building to confront the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter.

Ex-Parkland SRO Found Not Guilty of All Charges for Failure to Act During School Shooting

Image via Adobe, by HTGanzo

Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School SRO Scot Peterson was found not guilty on Thursday of felony neglect and other charges stemming from his failure to respond to the 2018 Parkland mass shooting that killed 17 victims.

Peterson, 60, was put on trial because he didn’t rush into the building to confront the shooter.

He and the shooter were the only two individuals charged as a result of the February 14, 2018 Parkland massacre. In November, the gunman was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. If Peterson had been convicted, he could have received a nearly 100-year prison sentence, reports the Associated Press.

Although the mass shooting took place in the 1200 building, the former SRO’s defense team called several deputies, students, and teachers who testified that they didn’t think the shots were coming from that location. Peterson said in interviews that he took cover because he believed the shots might have been coming from outside that building. He was not wearing his bullet-proof vest when the gunman opened fire.

Prosecutors, however, presented other witnesses who said they knew the shots were coming from the 1200 building. A training supervisor also testified that Peterson didn’t follow active shooter protocols.

Failures of the sheriff’s two-way radio system during the attack were another issue brought up by the defense team, reports the Associated Press.

Peterson is the first law enforcement officer charged with child neglect as a “caregiver,” which is a role that also applies to parents, babysitters, teachers, and others, reports the Sun Sentinel. Prosecutors said he was a caregiver because he was the SRO assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The jury deliberated for 19 hours before delivering its verdict. Peterson was acquitted of all charges.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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