FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Scot Peterson wants to change the narrative surrounding his actions on the day of the Parkland shooting.
In a 14-page letter recently sent to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, Peterson, the disgraced former Broward Sheriff's deputy, says he's been labeled a scapegoat for the tragedy, that he got little to no help from BSO on the day of the shooting and that he didn't know where the shots where coming from.
But victims of the tragedy, like Max Schachter, whose son Alex was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, says the letter changes nothing and that Peterson remains defined by his cowardice.
In the letter, Peterson claims "…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 said his actions were "…in compliance with the Broward Sheriff's Office Active Shooter Policy."
Peterson leveled criticism at BSO saying, "I was not given any information whatsoever by BSO communications regarding the location or description of the shooter(s)…or that there were any victim(s) inside the 1200 building…"
He also accused former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel of blaming the shooting on him saying, "…(Israel) made me his 'personal and political scapegoat' to take the 'onus' off of himself and place the blame on me for the massacre at my school."
Peterson also alleged that he thought the shots were coming from outside not inside the Freshman building. But one of his first radio calls shows something else. In that call, Peterson said, "Possible shots fired. 1200 building."
The lead BSO detective investigating the shooting, John Curcio, told investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that the rounds being fired that day were loud, that people were screaming in the building and that the shooter fired shots out of the second floor that landed about 70 feet from Peterson. "I'm not saying anyone's lying just unreasonable in my opinion to believe he didn't know where those shots were coming from," Curcio told investigators.
Peterson said he had no information on where the shooter was. But Schachter said Peterson had to have known where the shots were coming from. Max Schachter, whose son Alex was murdered at MSD, said that seems implausible.
"He went to the front of that building and he heard the gunshots into the victims and he did nothing," Schachter said. "He went and hid behind a pillar for 48 minutes."
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was murdered, agrees.
Ryan Petty whose daughter Alaina died in the shooting finds Peterson's claims implausible.
"He knew exactly where shots were coming from," Petty said. "That's why he took cover behind the pillar. I think it's irrefutable."
Schachter said Peterson got to the 1200 building in time to save lives on the 3rd floor but chose not to.
"He heard all those other shots on the 3rd floor," he said. "All those other kids getting shot and killed and he did nothing."
Schachter said Peterson's decisions that day cost lives, like his decision to urge deputies to stay away.
"Stay at least 500 feet away at this point," Peterson said over the BSO radio.
"He was on the radio telling other officers to stage 500 feet away," Schachter said. "He is the cause of other casualties in that building."
Peterson said he didn't hide during the shooting but that he took up a "tactical position." He also said the Commission got it wrong when they said he didn't call a code red. He says he did, although the Commission determined the first Code Red was called by someone else more than 3 minutes after the shooting began.
Schachter and Petty said Peterson displayed cowardice by not testifying in front the MSD Commission last year and when he failed to confront a school shooter.
"All of the evidence shows he was a coward that day," Schachter said. "He did nothing to save any of the victims."
"What was needed that day was real time courage and he demonstrated zero courage," Petty said.
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