Sheriff's Deputy Accused of Hiding During Parkland School Shooting Will Face Trial

(FORT LAUREDALE, Fla.). A former school resource officer who was accused of running from a South Florida school shooting that resulted in 17 deaths will have to prove that he wasn't criminally negligent. This was a decision made by a judge on Thursday.
The Sun Sentinel reported that Martin Fein, a Broward Circuit Judge, declined to dismiss child negligence charges against Scot Peterson (ex-Deputy Scot County Sheriff).

Peterson, 58 was a school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high School in Parkland. Nikolas Cruz was just 19 when the shooting occurred in February 2018. He has been charged with 17 charges of first-degree murder.

According to prosecution, Peterson did not intervene when Cruz was trying to navigate through the school hallways. Peterson is charged with breaking the law regarding caregivers. However, defense attorneys claimed Wednesday that a law enforcement official doesn't meet the legal definition of a caretaker.

Prosecutors argue that school resource officers are inherently different to other law enforcement officers, and should therefore be considered caregivers.

Fein ruled that a jury could decide whether a school resource officer should become a caregiver. He also noted that a jury instruction would be added to this effect.

Cruz could face the death penalty if convicted of the Valentine's Day 2018 massacre, in which 17 people were killed and 17 more were injured. Cruz's lawyers said that he would plead guilty to a life sentence in prison, but the prosecutors insist that a jury be tried.

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