Florida deputy charged after staying outside during Parkland school shooting

/ CBS/AP

Florida deputy charged after Parkland

There's been a dramatic turn in the investigation into what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed last year. The man whose job it was to keep students safe has been arrested.
Surveillance tape showed the school resource officer never entered the building as bullets flew. Former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson was arrested on 11 criminal charges, including child neglect and negligence.

Peterson was arrested late Tuesday afternoon after a 15 month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which said Peterson was "derelict in his duty" and "failed to act consistently with his training and fled to a position of personal safety while [Nikolas] Cruz shot and killed students and staff."

The report also states Peterson was "in a position to engage Cruz and mitigate further harm to others, and he willfully decided not to do so."

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During the six minutes nikolas cruz carried out his deadly rampage, Peterson never entered the building.

Surveillance video from five motion-activated cameras show Peterson's response, about a minute after the shooting began.

Peterson quickly turned and jumped into a golf cart to investigate. He radioed the sheriff's office with a warning, "Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers, I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired."

Scot Peterson Broward County Sheriff's Office

The report said Peterson knew where the gunshots were coming from but didn't investigate the source of them. Seconds later, Peterson is seen running and then stops to radio dispatch again. "Make sure we get some units over here, I need to shut down Stoneman Douglas," he said.

Peterson stayed across from building 12, which is out of view, just to the left of the pavement. He directed officers to lock the school down and block traffic.

According to the report, Peterson instructed deputies to stay away from the building instead of following law enforcement response procedures that call for eliminating immediate threats.

News of peterson's arrest came Tuesday during a stoneman douglas safety commission meeting

Lori Alhadeff's 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, was killed in the shooting. "With him being arrested today, that gives accountability to me and the seventeen families," she told CBS News.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed, responded to the news on Twitter.

"I have no comment except to say rot in hell Scott Petersen," he tweeted. "You could have saved some of the 17. You could have saved my daughter. You did not and then you lied about it and you deserve the misery coming your way."

Peterson has defended his actions all along. He was booked into the same jail where the confessed shooter is also being held.

His attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, defended his client in a statement, saying Peterson could not be prosecuted on child neglect and negligence charges because he was not a "caregiver" of the students.

"The State's actions appear to be nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at politically motivated retribution against Mr. Peterson as no other individual employed at the Broward Sheriff's Office or Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been criminally charged," DiRuzzo said.

Manuel Bojorquez contributed reporting.

First published on June 4, 2019 / 4:10 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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