UNITED STATES NEWS

Florida deputy didn’t follow extensive training during Parkland school massacre, supervisor says

Jun 15, 2023, 10:56 AM

A former Florida sheriff’s deputy didn’t follow his extensive training on how to stop an active shooter when he didn’t confront the killer who murdered 17 people at a Parkland high school, a former training commander testified Thursday.

Former Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson had undergone training both in a video simulator and with live actors several times before the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward County Lt. Col. Sam Samaroo testified. He said Peterson was taught that even if he was alone, he would need to confront the shooter without waiting for backup.

Samaroo worked at the agency’s training unit from 2013 to 2018, and was ultimately made its commander. He said deputies are taught that active shooters, if confronted, will kill or barricade themselves, surrender, or engage authorities in a gunfight, giving civilians time to flee or take shelter. That’s why deputies must go toward the gunshots immediately and “force an outcome,” he said.

“The more time the shooter has, the more victims he can kill,” Samaroo added. “Our goal is to stop the killing by any possible means. Time is our enemy.”

Peterson, the school’s on-campus deputy, insists he did not know where the shots were coming from because of echoes, which is why he didn’t enter the three-story classroom building where former student Nikolas Cruz carried out his six-minute attack. Peterson, after approaching the building’s doors about a minute after the shooting began, backed away and took cover next to a neighboring building. He stayed in place for 40 minutes, long after the shooting stopped.

Samaroo said not knowing the shooter’s precise location was no excuse for Peterson to remain stationary; he said the deputy would have picked up clues to the shooter’s location if he had moved.

“You go into hunting mode,” Samaroo said. “The smell (of gunpowder). You will see (bullet) casings, trails of blood. You might see people fleeing in a particular direction. Those are all things that play into our senses.”

Under cross-examination, Samaroo conceded that in training scenarios, the deputies know in which building the fake shooter is located and they are never confronted with multiple possibilities or any outside echoes.

What Peterson, 60, heard and saw during the shooting is the key issue in the trial. He is charged with child neglect for failing to confront Cruz before the gunman reached the classroom building’s third floor, where six of the victims died.

Peterson is not charged in connection with the deaths of 11 people killed on the first floor before he reached the building.

If Peterson is convicted of the most serious charge of felony child neglect, he could be sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison and lose his $104,000 annual pension. He had spent nearly three decades working at schools, including nine years at Stoneman Douglas. He retired shortly after the shooting and was then fired retroactively.

Prosecutors have spent the trial’s first week calling to the witness stand students, teachers and law enforcement officers who have testified about the horror they experienced and how they knew where Cruz was.

For Peterson to be convicted of child neglect, prosecutors must first show he was legally a caregiver to the juvenile students, defined by Florida law as “a parent, adult household member or other person responsible for a child’s welfare.”

If jurors find Peterson was a caregiver, they must determine whether he made a “reasonable effort” to protect the children or failed to provide necessary care.

Peterson is the first U.S. law enforcement officer ever charged for an alleged failure to act during a school shooting. Similarly, Texas authorities are investigating officers in the town of Uvalde who didn’t confront the shooter who killed 19 elementary students and two teachers last year. None have been charged, however.

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty and last year received a life sentence, avoiding a death sentence when his jury could not unanimously agree he deserved execution.

United States News

Associated Press

Appeals court won’t halt upcoming Alabama execution

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declined to halt the upcoming execution of an Alabama man convicted in the beating deaths of an elderly couple during a 2004 robbery. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied two separate requests for an execution stay for Jamie Ray Mills, 50. Mills is […]

16 minutes ago

Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives to court during his trial for allegedly covering up ...

Associated Press

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Donald Trump engaged in “a conspiracy and a cover-up,” a prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday in the former president's hush money trial.

51 minutes ago

Associated Press

A driver with an Oregon-based medical care nonprofit is fatally shot in Ethiopia while in a convoy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A staff member with an Oregon medical care nonprofit was killed when the team he was traveling with in a convoy was fired upon in Ethiopia, officials said Monday. Mustefa Alkisim was a Medical Teams International driver traveling in the insecure Amhara region of Ethiopia Friday when men fired at the […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

European-Japanese climate research satellite launched from California aboard SpaceX rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A European-Japanese climate research satellite designed to study Earth’s temperature balance was launched into orbit from California on Tuesday. The EarthCARE satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:20 p.m. The satellite was successfully deployed about 10 minutes later, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Former California water official pleads guilty to conspiring to steal water from irrigation canal

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former California water official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal water in a deal with federal prosecutors in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley. The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that 78-year-old Dennis Falaschi, who used to head the Panoche Water District, entered the plea in federal court in Fresno. […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Prosecutors build their case at bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez with emails and texts

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors were presenting their bribery case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez drip-by-drip on Tuesday, showing jurors a steady stream of documents, emails and phone records that they’ll explain more thoroughly later in the trial. The evidence was being shown to Manhattan federal court jurors through the testimony of an FBI […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Florida deputy didn’t follow extensive training during Parkland school massacre, supervisor says