The former Florida sheriff’s deputy slammed by President Donald Trump for failing to confront a gunman massacring students and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is reportedly receiving a lifetime monthly pension of $8,702.35 – sparking outrage among parents of the teen victims.
“This infuriates me in ways people cannot comprehend. My daughter would still be alive if this person did his job,” Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among 17 people shot dead inside the Parkland, said on Twitter.
Scot Peterson, 55, a veteran Broward County deputy, resigned and retired just one week after he waited outside the high school as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz rampaged through the halls with an AR-15 assault rifle and picked off defenseless students and staffers.
After the bloodbath, Trump commented: “Look at Peterson. Look what he did in Broward where he thought he was probably a brave guy, but he wasn’t a brave guy under pressure. He choked and other people choked.” The president added that Peterson was either a “coward” or froze under extreme pressure.
Peterson has insisted he believed gunshots were coming from outside of the school and not inside the building.
News of the pension, reported by the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, jolted the families whose loved ones were killed.
Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow died, tweeted: “The coward of Broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered! How in the hell is he getting this? That money should go to actually securing our schools!”
Pollack has named Peterson and others in a wrongful death suit filed last month in Broward County Court.
Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine told the Miami Herald: “The thing he was supposed to do — protect these children — he didn’t do. Now he’s going to be paid by taxpayers for the rest of his life? It seems disgraceful.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Peterson would not be entitled to his pension if he were convicted of a crime such as embezzlement or bribery, but his alleged failure to do his job doesn’t count. Until the shooting, he had been considered a “trusted school resource officer.”
A surveillance video showed Peterson waiting outside the school as the gunman went after his victims inside. According to CNN, Brandon Huff, a senior, claimed he saw Peterson standing outside behind a stairwell wall, gun drawn “just pointing it at the building” as shots rang out inside.
“He’s wearing a bulletproof vest … while school security guards, coaches pretty much, were running in shielding kids,” Huff said.
An investigation into Peterson’s actions was launched, but Peterson retired before its completion.
Shortly after the violence, Sheriff Scott Israel said Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
The probe into Peterson’s response is ongoing, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman told the Sun-Sentinel.