Former Parkland H.S. resource officer appears in court

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NBC) – The school resource officer who failed to confront a gunman who shot and killed 17 students and staff at a Parkland, Florida high school appeared in court Wednesday morning.

Scot Peterson was arrested Tuesday and charged with eleven counts in connection with his failure to act during the massacre.

Parents and fellow law enforcement officers have called Peterson a coward while Peterson has defended his decisions on that terrible day.

The 56-year-old appeared via video link for his initial court appearance Wednesday.

Bond was set at $120,000 after Peterson was formally charged with 11 counts including child neglect, culpable negligence, and perjury—all for failure to act during the Parkland High School massacre.

Peterson was taken into custody some 15 months after not rushing in to engage the shooter as he gunned down 17 students and faculty.

Mother of victim Luke Hoyer said, “He took an oath as a police officer to protect and that day he stood outside that building while 17 people were being murdered and he did absolutely nothing and I think that is an act against the oath that he took.”

It was an oath Peterson himself defended during an interview with NBC’S Savannah Guthrie last year. “I know the policies,” he said at the time. “I know the procedures. I communicated right on that scene. I did everything that I… I felt at the time was appropriate.”

Surveillance video from the day of the shooting shows Peterson standing outside the high school’s building number 3 while gunman Nikolas Cruz went floor to floor carrying out his killing spree.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association President Jeff Bell said, “He never put anybody in harm’s way by his failure to act so we think that’s going to be weak in a court of law.”

An argument that will now be up to a judge a jury as the fallout from that horrific day continues.

Peterson faces up to 96-years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Gunman Nikolas Cruz faces the death penalty if convicted of the first-degree murder charges for the 17 killed in the attack. Cruz trial is expected to begin early next year.

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