Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Acquittal: Scot Peterson Found Not Guilty on All Charges




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Former school resource officer Scot Peterson has been acquitted on all charges related to child neglect in the Parkland school shooting, according to the jury’s verdict, Your Content has learned.

State prosecutors had accused Scot Peterson, 60, of disregarding his training and failing to act when 17 individuals, including 14 students, were fatally shot at the Parkland school, making it the deadliest high school shooting in US history.

Peterson’s defense argued that he did not enter the building under attack because he was unable to determine the source of the gunshots.

Peterson pleaded not guilty to a total of 11 counts, including seven felony counts of child neglect and three misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence.

Additionally, he faced a misdemeanor count of perjury for allegedly providing false information to investigators regarding the number of gunshots he heard upon arrival at the scene and whether he witnessed people fleeing the 1200 building.

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After four days of deliberation, the six jurors reached a decision.

This verdict comes at a time when the nation continues to grapple with the issue of mass shootings and violence in schools.

Since the tragic incident at the Parkland school on Valentine’s Day, there have been approximately 200 attacks on K-12 campuses.

The Gun Violence Archive records over 330 shootings resulting in at least four injuries, excluding the shooter, thus far in the year.

The Parkland shooter is currently serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to 17 counts each of murder and attempted murder.

Peterson was accused of failing to confront the gunman, deviating from his active shooter training, and seeking shelter outside the school’s three-story 1200 building for over 45 minutes before the perpetrator was apprehended.

Assistant State Attorney Kristen Gomes stated, “Because when Scot Peterson ran, he left children trapped inside of the building with a predator unchecked. Peterson left behind an unrestricted killer to spend the next 4 minutes and 15 seconds wandering the halls at his leisure.”

The charges against Peterson specifically relate to the deaths and injuries sustained by eight students, including seven minors, and two school employees on the third floor of the 1200 building.

Among the victims were Teacher Scott Beigel and students Meadow Pollack, Jaime Guttenberg, Cara Loughran, Joaquin Oliver, and Peter Wang, who all lost their lives.

Teacher Stacey Lippel and students Anthony Borges, Kyle Laman, and Marian Kabachenko were wounded but survived.

Peterson was not charged in connection with the victims on the first floor, as he had not yet arrived at the scene. No fatalities occurred on the second floor.

Defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh argued that Peterson, who retired amidst growing criticism of his alleged inaction, did not know the location of the shooter.

He pointed to other witnesses who testified that they were unable to pinpoint the exact origin of the gunshots.

Eiglarsh also disputed the speculation that Peterson could have made a difference even if he had known the shooter’s whereabouts.

During the trial, testimonies were heard from former students, staff, and law enforcement personnel who supported Peterson’s claim that it was challenging to discern the direction of the gunfire based on the sounds alone.

Eiglarsh emphasized that Peterson was present at the scene for the last 4 minutes and 15 seconds of the approximately 6 1/2-minute shooting.

He highlighted that Peterson arrived at the scene without a bulletproof vest or rifle and immediately called for measures to secure the school.

“It is unfair and unjust to sit in the calmness of a courtroom that is chill and mellow and try to go back and Monday morning quarterback,” Eiglarsh stated in his closing argument, according to ABC.

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