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Deputy Who Stayed Outside During Parkland School Shooting Faces Charges

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ElmiraTelegram    117


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — As bullets ricocheted and bodies fell in the hallways and classrooms at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, Deputy Scot Peterson was outside the building. Instead of storming in after the 19-year-old gunman, he retreated to a position of safety.

For more than a year after the February 2018 attack in Parkland, Fla., grieving parents have demanded that Mr. Peterson — along with the gunman who killed 17 and injured 17 — be held accountable in what would prove to be one of the nation’s worst school shootings. On Tuesday, law enforcement responded with a sweeping list of charges that resulted in Mr. Peterson’s arrest. His alleged crime: failing to protect the students.


Read the rest at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/04/us/parkland-scot-peterson.html

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Chris    841

While on one hand I understand this,( and confess I don't know enough about his actions during the incident ) I have to say these charges make me a little uneasy. 

In EMS it was drilled into our heads you don't go in to an unsafe scene. You're gonna do no one any good if you're dead. Furthermore, we have families to go home to as well. Understandably, it's a little different with law enforcement, they're trained and paid for these very scenarios. 

However, if only to play Devil's Advocate, what if this officer felt he was outgunned and going in there alone was certain death? Surely his family deserves to have him come home just as much as anyone. And let's be honest, even the best trained, well intentioned person can freeze in cases like this. I understand the anger from the parents and students, but honestly, I can't sit back in the safety of my home and say it couldn't happen if I were in that situation. 

Where he loses me though is advising a whole fleet of officers to stay back. At the very least try to ascertain where the shooter was and how to lessen the loss of life ( except the shooter's of course ). 

I don't know if there's been incidents and charges in cases like this before, but if not, I can't help but wonder if this will be a slippery slope. If in the future officers face scrutiny for not going in guns a blazin' or if an EMS crew will face charges for parking a block away from an "unsecured scene" for their own safety. 

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KReed    379

He lost me with his arrogant and overly defensive chest-pounding before the victims even reached room temperature.

I get that they are human and need to assess a situation for safest plan of action. But I think the prosecutors may have been less aggressive if he'd have behaved with any remorse or sorrow at all from the start.....instead of ranting on camera with words to the effect of "How dare you question my actions??"  and "I performed with the utmost professionalism". That sort of demeanor doesn't leave the victims' families and general public with a burning urge to be "understanding" of his perspective.

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Adam    15

my concern is that he is specifically assigned for the safety of the students/staff in that building, in that sense he had the duty to engage on some level if nothing else to distract the shooter.

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Johnny Go    121

Before Columbine the standard strategy for law enforcement was to wait to engage until overwhelming force arrived.  Since then the standard practice is that the first armed officer on the scene is to immediately enter the building and engage the shooter(s).  This is the only thing that will stop the carnage and save lives, seconds matter. ALL police have been trained in this strategy.  Until the threat is eliminated, unarmed civilians and personnel are to stay out of harms way.

Any school resource officer has this duty to immediately engage any threat to the students drummed into them and accepts this responsibility as part of taking the job, since that is primary purpose of their role.  If they are not willing to put their safety and health in harms way to protect the people under their care, then don't take the job.  This coward failed to perform his responsibility and his job.  It WAS negligence, plain and simple.  Children died due to his inaction, he does share a part of the responsibility for the deaths that occurred after he arrived.

Is this dangerous to the officers?  Yes, as demonstrated by the loss Ventura County Sheriff Sgt Ron Helus during the Thousand Oaks shooting.  May he rest and peace.  But his arrival within three minutes and immediately engaging the shooter saved an untold number lives among the nearly 200 potential victims in the building at the time.  He was shot five times by the gunman.  Unfortunately, the fatal shot was from friendly fire during that hectic first encounter.  My prayers go out to the brave CHP officer who entered with Helus, hopefully he has found peace in knowing he also was responsible for saving lives through his prompt action. 

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