Parkland school deputy who resigned just got a lawyer amid ‘unfounded criticism’ over his response to the mass shooting

Mourners leave the funeral for Alyssa Aldaheff, 14, one of the victims of the school shooting, in North Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 16, 2018.

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Mourners leave the funeral for Alyssa Aldaheff, 14, one of the victims of the school shooting, in North Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., February 16, 2018.
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REUTERS/Joe Skipper

  • Scot Peterson the Broward County Sheriff’s deputy stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the February 14 mass shooting that killed 17, has hired an attorney over what he believes is “unfounded criticism of his actions.”
  • Peterson said he is “confident” in the actions he took during the shooting, according to a statement by his attorney.
  • Peterson was met with criticism after an internal investigation revealed that he never entered the building where the shooting occurred.

The former Broward County Sheriff’s deputy stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, during the February 14 mass shooting that killed 17 people, has hired an attorney over what he believes is “unfounded criticism of his actions.”

Scot Peterson resigned last week amid outrage over his inaction during the shooting. He says his character has smeared. A statement from attorney Joseph DiRuzzo said that Peterson wants to respond to what he called “unfounded criticism of his actions” and uncalled for attacks upon his character.”

“Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need,” the statement said. “However, the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue.”

“Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance.”

After an internal investigation, Peterson was believed to have never entered the building where the shooting occurred. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel condemned Peterson’s performance and prompted a wave of criticism, including from President Donald Trump.

Peterson, who was armed and in uniform during the shooting, reportedly did “nothing” and remained outside of the building for at least four minutes during the incident, according to Israel.

“I am devastated,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference. “Sick to my stomach. He never went in.”

Shortly after his resignation, Peterson’s family reportedly asked for protection at his home. Local reporters discovered several deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office guarding his home last week.