FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – The former school resource officer accused of hiding in a shooting at a school in South Florida that killed 17 people said after a hearing on Wednesday that he never sat idle if he had known people were being killed.
Former Deputy Scotsman Peterson of Broward County, 58, appeared in court where his attorney argued to dismiss charges of negligence against him, the Sun Sentinel reported. After the hearing, Peterson lost his temper and fought back tears as he described how his life changed after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“I didn’t do anything there to try to injure a child on the scene,” Peterson said. “I did my best with the information. I did the best … I will never forget this day. You know, it’s not just children who died, I have friends who have died. And not for a second would I sit there and let someone die, knowing that this animal was in that building! Never!”
Nikolas Cruz, who was 19 at the time of the February 2018 shooting, has been charged with 17 first-degree murder and faces a possible death penalty.
Prosecutors said Peterson failed to come to the rescue as Cruz was walking the hallways of the school. The law he is accused of violating applies specifically to caregivers, but defense lawyers argue that a law enforcement officer does not fit the legal definition of a caregiver.
Prosecutors argue that school resource officers are inherently different from other law enforcement officers and should be viewed as carers.
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