The previous Florida deputy who stood outdoors as an alternative of confronting the gunman throughout final 12 months’s Parkland college bloodbath was arrested Tuesday on 11 prison prices associated to his inaction.
Broward State Lawyer Mike Satz mentioned in an announcement that 56-year-old Scot Peterson faces little one neglect, culpable negligence and perjury prices that carry a mixed potential most jail sentence of almost 100 years.
Peterson, then a Broward County deputy, was on obligation as the varsity useful resource officer through the February 2018 capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College however by no means went inside whereas bullets have been flying. Seventeen folks died and 17 others have been wounded within the assault.
One of many victims was 14-year-old Gina Montalto, whose father Tony Montalto mentioned households needed justice to be achieved.
“We’re completely happy to see some accountability for this tragedy that took the lifetime of my daughter Gina and 16 different great people in addition to terribly injured 17 others,” mentioned Montalto, president of the Stand With Parkland sufferer households’ group.
WATCH: Armed officer who by no means entered the varsity through the Parkland capturing speaks out
Peterson’s bail was set at $102,000, Satz mentioned. As soon as launched, Peterson will likely be required to put on a GPS monitor and give up his passport, and will likely be prohibited from possessing a firearm, the prosecutor mentioned.
Peterson lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo III didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Prior to now, he has defended Peterson’s conduct as justified beneath the circumstances.
The fees observe a 14-month investigation by the Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement, in accordance with that company.
“The FDLE investigation reveals former deputy Peterson did completely nothing to mitigate the MSD capturing that killed 17 youngsters, academics and workers and injured 17 others,” FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen in an e mail assertion mentioned. “There may be no excuse for his full inaction and no query that his inaction price lives.”
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican who was Florida governor when the capturing occurred, initiated the FDLE probe and mentioned Tuesday in an announcement that he was glad the investigation was completed.
“Now it’s time for justice to be served,” Scott mentioned.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony mentioned Peterson has been formally terminated, though he introduced his retirement shortly after the capturing. One other deputy, former Sgt. Brian Miller, was additionally fired, though he faces no prison prices for his actions that day.
“It’s by no means too late for accountability and justice,”Tony mentioned.
WATCH: Survivors of Parkland college capturing file federal lawsuit
David S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in personal follow, mentioned key to the case would be the culpable negligence cost, which basically means an “utter disregard for the security of others.”
“They’re specializing in the care he was required to present to the scholars as a caregiver who was liable for their welfare,” Weinstein added.
The Peterson arrest is the most recent fallout from the Valentine’s Day 2018 capturing. Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended then-Sheriff Scott Israel for “neglect of obligation and incompetence” over the division’s actions that day. Israel is interesting that call to the state Senate and mentioned he intends to run once more subsequent 12 months.
The case additionally spawned a state fee that issued a 458-page report detailing a litany of errors earlier than and through the capturing, together with unaggressive Broward deputies who stayed outdoors the varsity constructing and the insurance policies that led to that. The fee additionally really useful voluntary arming of academics, which state lawmakers authorized this 12 months.
WATCH: Parkland capturing: Valentine’s Day marks 1-year since lethal highschool bloodbath
The chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College Public Security Fee, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, mentioned in an interview that the fees in opposition to Peterson are “completely warranted.”
“Scott Peterson is a coward, a failure and a prison,” Gualtieri mentioned. “There isn’t any doubt in my thoughts that as a result of he didn’t act, folks have been killed.”
Nikolas Cruz , 20, faces the demise penalty if convicted of the first-degree homicide prices filed within the assault. His attorneys have mentioned Cruz would plead responsible in return for a life sentence, however prosecutors have refused that provide.
Cruz is anticipated to go on trial in early 2020.