A Florida jury has found former Parkland school resource officer and former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson not guilty on all counts stemming from the 2018 active shooter attack at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.
Peterson faced seven counts of felony child neglect and was the first law enforcement officer in the U.S. to face criminal charges stemming from his alleged inaction during the shooting, which killed 17 people and wounded 17 more. He was also charged with three counts of misdemeanor culpable negligence in relation to the adults shot in the building. Additionally, he was charged with perjury for allegedly lying to detectives.
Peterson, 60, had faced six counts of child neglect with great bodily harm, one count of child neglect without great harm, three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury.
He would have faced prison time and a loss of his $104,000 annual pension if convicted of the child neglect charges, Fox News reports.
“I got my life back after 4½ years,” Peterson said outside the courtroom. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster for so long,” the Sun Sentinel reports.
Prosecutors left the courthouse without commenting.
Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor in a prepared statement said the case was one-of-a-kind in the nation’s history and countered those who have made Peterson’s case a “political” debate.”
“Scot Peterson’s inaction and the misinformation he provided to law enforcement officers had a dire impact on the children and adults who died or were injured on the third floor of the 1200 Building,” Pryor wrote. “He stood by, leaving an unrestricted killer to spend 4 minutes and 15 seconds wandering the halls at leisure — firing close to 70 rounds and killing or injuring ten of the 34 children and educators who bore the brunt of the massacre. The evidence showed he stood in one safe spot for more than 40 minutes while the victims on the third floor were killed and injured and while other law enforcement officers took action.”