If former sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson thought that he could just resign and enjoy a retirement after his inaction at Marjory Stoneman High School during the deadly school shooting, he was wrong. Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the students who was killed, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson and several others that he believes could have stopped or changed the outcome of the shooting, according to ABC News.
Pollack recounted how his 18-year-old daughter Meadow Pollack was “shot nine times at point-blank range.” He also said that his daughter “died crawling by a doorway – shielding a classmate who also ended up dying – waiting for someone to come help her. Help never came.”
In addition to Peterson, the lawsuit goes after the couple who took in Nikolas Cruz and three mental health facilities that evaluated Cruz’s mental state in the past. Pollack believes that the mental health evaluators failed to do their job, which is to identify people who are a possible threat to others. The lawsuit asks for a trial by jury and an unspecified amount for damages.
For the father, the idea of Peterson retiring and receiving a pension to “ride off into the sunset” is unacceptable. He wants to see the former deputy held accountable for his inaction. Most of all, he wants the whole world to know that Peterson had the opportunity to save people from dying, but chose not to out of cowardice. Pollack said that this lawsuit is not about money.
“[Peterson] had the opportunity to go in and instead, let all those people get murdered.”
Meanwhile, Peterson’s lawyer Joseph DiRuzzo released a statement denying any wrongdoing by Peterson, saying “allegations that Mr. Peterson…failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue.” According to DiRuzzo, Peterson’s inaction was because he thought the gunfire was outside, not inside the school.
At the time of the shooting, Peterson was the school’s resource officer. While the active shooting was taking place, Peterson was seen in surveillance footage not doing anything, least of all attempting to enter Building 12 where Cruz was shooting students and teachers. But it wasn’t because he wasn’t aware of an active shooter on campus. Peterson had already told the Broward Sheriff’s Communications Dispatched that he thought “we have shots fired, possible shots fired.”
Sheriff Scott Israel announced previously that he believed Peterson failed in his post, and that Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer,” reported the Sun Sentinel. President Trump also echoed the sheriff, saying that Peterson was a coward and “certainly did a poor job.”
Although Peterson was put on unpaid suspension after the surveillance tape of his inaction was released, Peterson retired shortly thereafter, detailed the Washington Post.