Former sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson wants to “change the narrative” about his failure to act on the day of the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. In a 14-page letter, he insists he “acted accordingly” when he remained outside during the entire shooting and made no attempt to intervene or save lives.
CBS Miami reported this week that Petersen delivered his “rebuttal” letter to the Public Safety Commission in response to their final report as a defense of himself and to blame the Sheriff’s office for failing to provide him with enough information.
Petersen declined to testify before the commission when given the opportunity several months ago.
Petersen blames procedures and other technicalities for his remaining safely outside and listened while children were being murdered yards away. He wrote in the letter that, “my law enforcement actions during the horrific school shooting on February 14, 2018, were consistent with my training and based on my ‘real-time intelligence’ on the scene.”
He also said his inaction was “in compliance with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Active Shooter Policy.”
Petersen went after Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for scapegoating him in the investigation. Israel’s policies and judgment have also been under heavy fire, and Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended him after taking office. A move that, unbelievably, Florida Democrats opposed. In fact, they tried to pass a resolution condemning the Governor for his action against the sheriff, despite his many failures in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.
None of that, though, changes the facts for Petersen, despite his letter. The commission found that “former Deputy Scot Peterson was derelict in his duty on February 14, 2018, failed to act consistent with his training and fled to a position of personal safety while [Nikolas] Cruz shot and killed MSDHS students and staff. Peterson was in a position to engage Cruz and mitigate further harm to others and he willfully decided not to do so.”
Parents of victims of the shooting reject Peterson’s letter, including his absurd claim, contradicted by the evidence, that he didn’t know where the shots were coming from.
“He went to the front of that building and he heard the gunshots into the victims and he did nothing,” said Max Schachter, whose son Alex was murdered that day. “He went and hid behind a pillar for 48 minutes.”
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed in the shooting, felt the same. “He knew exactly where shots were coming from,” said Petty. “That’s why he took cover behind the pillar. I think it’s irrefutable.”
On Twitter, Petty said it all. “On 2/14/18 Marjory Stoneman Douglas needed ‘real time courage’. Former Deputy Scot Peterson displayed none,’ he wrote. “Writing a fairytale letter to MSD Commissioners is like standing behind a cement pillar for 48 minutes. He continues his cowardly ways.”