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'They Don't Know The Truth': Ex-School Resource Officer Scot Peterson Defends Actions During Parkland School Shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Former BSO school resource officer Scot Peterson is defending himself once again in the way he responded to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Peterson, alongside his attorney Mark Eiglarsh, held a news conference on Wednesday morning, just days after the deposition of former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was released.

Scot Peterson and Mark Eiglarsh
Former BSO deputy Scot Peterson and his attorney Mark Eiglarsh (CBS4)

In that deposition, Eiglarsh said Israel made statements that prove Peterson didn't know where the gunman was during the shooting that left 17 people dead, and 17 others injured.

Peterson got a little emotional while talking to reporters.

"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. And anybody who knows me will tell you that's not deputy Peterson," he said with raw emotion in his voice. "I feel for those families. Those kids that were shot, that were injured, the ones that were killed. And they don't know the truth. These families have not learned the truth of what happened on that day, on February 14."

Scot Peterson's attorney says his client did nothing wrong. Watch press conference in its entirety.


Peterson faces multiple counts of child negligence for failing to enter the school building and confront the shooter.

Peterson said he didn't know the gunman was inside the 1200 building. Instead, he said, he thought the shooter, or shooters were outside of the building.

"We're assessing the intel that we're getting from BSO communications, we're not receiving any information, any real time intel of what's going on, having no knowledge at that point that there was one shooter, two shooters, multiple shooters inside that building, outside that building, on a roof, through a window. We didn't know," he told reporters. "It wasn't only me. There were also seven deputies who heard that gunfire and they were in the same position that I was in. No intel. We didn't know. They believed it was outside as well. 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.

Eiglarsh said the just released deposition with Israel proves Peterson never received any real time intelligence from BSO and Israel "admits that the evidence is equally consistent with my client believing there was a sniper at the time."

In addition, Eiglarsh said, "Sheriff Israel also conveyed for the first time in deposition publicly, that it was never conveyed to my client in real time that any kids or faculty were being killed. He didn't know that until after. Sheriff Israel also told us in that deposition, and you can see from the clips that my client was never told of the specific location of the shooter in real time. He explains and this is critical. We were never told that there was a colossal communication failure that day."

Days after the 2018 Valentine's Day shooting, footage surfaced of Peterson taking position near the 700 and 800 buildings at the high school, a spot he stayed at for more than 45 minutes. Prosecutors have said that video shows Peterson failing to come to the rescue during the massacre.

Scot Peterson Surveillance Video MSD ShootingF_1
Scot Peterson, as seen on surveillance video, taking cover behind a wall, on the day of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. (BSO)

Eiglarsh said Peterson thought there could be a sniper which is why he stood his ground.

"Believing that there was sniper fire, he didn't stand there doing nothing, he went to his training, and his training instructs him to take a tactical position of cover, that's what he did," Eiglarsh said. "They labeled his tactical position of cover some type of hiding in the corner and doing nothing."

Eiglarsh stressed that the deposition shows "Sheriff Israel agrees that criminal charges are not appropriate," adding "On the contrary, he did everything he could to the best of his ability with the limited knowledge that he has. This is a miscarriage of justice, that he's facing a life sentence for this."

Peterson also said he was monitoring both of his radios during the time of the shooting, but was never given any real time information that a shooter was inside of the building.  In the deposition with Israel, he acknowledged there were issues with the radios the day of the massacre.

"That's a huge failure.  Absolutely huge failure," said Israel.

Eiglarsh continued to say Coral Springs Police was operating on a different radio system the day of the shooting.  He said the 911 calls being made by the students in the 1200 building went right to Coral Springs instead of BSO and Coral Springs never relayed any of that information to Peterson.

Additional depositions are being taken on Thursday from other witnesses and the next hearing is scheduled for December 9.

"Let me make this extremely clear. Unlike Nicholas Cruz, who was guilty and pled guilty. My client is not pleading guilty because he did nothing wrong. He's innocent. We're not taking any plea deals," said Eiglarsh.

Over the summer a judge denied Peterson's request to drop the case based on a law his attorney said specifically applied to caregivers, something he said school resource officers are not.

Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty last week to the shootings, the deadliest high school shooting in US history.

Jury selection for the penalty phase of his trial is scheduled to begin in January.

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