PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer Scot Peterson is facing criminal charges, but in a media conference held on Wednesday morning, he doubled down on his defense.
“On February 14, 2018, we responded to a firecracker call on campus,” he said, with his lawyer next to him. “It was not a call of an act of gunfire.”
At the conference, for the first time, Peterson gave his entire account of what happened on that Valentine’s Day of 2018. Seventeen victims lost their lives.
Peterson, along with his attorney, claimed there was no way for him to know there was an active shooter in the school’s 1200 building.
When he arrived at the building, that is when he said he heard two to three shots. “I immediately got on my radio, and I reported shots fired,” Peterson said. “I then went on my school radio to lock down the school to safeguard the 3,200 kids on that campus.”
He also said with the assistant principal by his side, the two believed the gunfire was coming from outside, and there could have been a sniper, so that is when he said he took a tactical position. “I’ve been trained for 30 years. You don’t stand outside when there’s gunfire right outside,” he said.
Peterson said he had no idea where the shooter was, especially since there were bogus calls that shots were being fired at the football field and a nearby middle school.
In a deposition back in August, then Broward Sheriff Scott Israel gave testimony to Peterson’s attorney, who pressed for clarification. “There’s no evidence that my client in real time knew exactly where the shooter was, assuming that he even knew that he was in the 1200 building, correct?” said attorney Mark Eiglarsh.
“Correct,” responded Israel. “That’s true.”
Peterson said he was with Coral Springs Police officers and other BSO deputies.
According to the deposition Israel gave, there could have been confusion between the two police departments not communicating real time intelligence due to them being on different radio channels.
During questioning at the deposition with Peterson’s attorney, Israel agreed there was a “colossal failure” of communication, as the attorney put it.
“It is,” Israel admitted.
“We were doing the best. Every deputy on that scene was doing the best that we could at that moment, in the chaotic moments at the beginning with those shots being fired,” said Peterson. “There is no way in hell that I would sit there and allow those kids to die with me being next to another building and sitting there. No way. Anybody who knows me will tell you that’s not deputy Peterson. That’s not deputy Peterson, never. I feel for those families, those kids who were shot, who were injured, the ones who were killed, and they don’t know the truth. These families have not learned the truth of what happened on that day.”
Peterson said his truth is that he did not know where those shots were fired from at the time.
He is currently facing criminal charges.
Israel was asked if he believed Peterson should be facing charges, to which he replied “No.”
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