Parkland shooting sheriff’s deputy found not guilty on all counts

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By Alex Sundby

/ CBS News

CBS News Live

CBS News Miami Live

Scot Peterson, a sheriff’s deputy who was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the deadly Parkland shooting in 2018, was found not guilty on all counts Thursday. Peterson, now 60, was charged with child neglect and other counts in connection with the deaths and injuries on an upper floor of the building attacked by gunman Nikolas Cruz.

Peterson was sobbing as the verdict was read in court. He spoke to reporters after the proceedings.

“Got my life back,” he said.

“Don’t anybody ever forget this was a massacre on February 14,” Peterson said. “Only person to blame was that monster … We did the best we could with the information we had, and God knows we wish we had more.”

Peterson, the only armed school resource officer on campus when the shooting started, was charged in 2019, more than a year after the gunman killed 17 people in the Valentine’s Day attack. The gunman is serving a life sentence without parole after a different jury in November couldn’t unanimously agree to give him the death penalty.

Surveillance video showed Peterson didn’t confront the gunman, and a public safety commission said he hid for about 48 minutes. Peterson wasn’t charged in connection with the 11 people who were killed on the first floor before he arrived on the scene.

Prosecutors argued Peterson could have tried to stop the gunman, but Peterson’s attorney said he couldn’t tell where the gunshots were coming from.

In the wake of the shooting, Peterson retired from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and he was retroactively fired in 2019.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Alex Sundby

Alex Sundby is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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