Scot Peterson, the now-retired Broward County Sheriff’s deputy who failed to act when a killer opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, killing 17, spoke publicly for the first time this week after remaining silent for more than three months.
In separate interviews with the Washington Post and NBC’s “Today,” Peterson lamented that he was unable to do more on that fateful day, blaming his apparent inaction on scarce details and an inability to determine where the shooting was.
It didn’t take long for parents of slain MSD students to respond to Peterson — and they are not happy.
What did they say?
Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, responded to Peterson’s version of events, and specifically why he was captured on surveillance video behind a concrete wall while innocent children were slaughtered inside the school building.
“How could he find him if he’s hiding behind a wall?” Pollack told the Miami Herald in an interview Tuesday.
“I think the whole country knows he didn’t do his job and this interview was his way of him trying to live with it. He’s just a liar. It’s all on tape,” Pollack added.
Philip Schentrup, the father of 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup, described Peterson as a “coward” and “liar.”
“He is attempting to create a narrative about him as a victim instead of the truth. He heard the gunfire, and he knew what it was,” he said. “His training wasn’t to clear the area, it was to immediately engage the shooter and stop the killing. He must live with himself and the truth that 17 people were murdered as he stood around and did nothing.”
Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, told the Herald that Peterson needs to stop playing victim.
“I’m tired of him trying to paint himself as the victim,” Guttenberg said. “He is not a victim. He created victims. He keeps referring to them as his kids. They are not your kids, Scot Peterson! You let them die!”
“Those people who lost their lives, including my daughter, are victims of his inability to do his job; victims of his failure,” he added. “This interview makes him even more pathetic than he already was. You failed me and my daughter. If you are truly sorry, I challenge you to face me.”
Max Schachter, who lost his 14-year-old son, Alex Schachter, told the Herald he does not care to hear Peterson’s sob story.
“I don’t understand how he can come out and say that he did do his job. He did nothing. He stood outside. He knew the guy was inside killing our kids. It’s all crap,” Schachter said. “He actually caused more deaths because he told officers not to go in. He should be prosecuted.”
Are they taking action against Peterson?
Pollack, who has become an avid spokesmen for school safety since losing his daughter, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson in April, among other entities Pollack said are culpable in his daughter’s death.
“He could have stopped it. Could have saved my kid. Nobody should be able to not do their job, receive a pension and ride off into the sunset,” Pollack told the Herald of his lawsuit.
Indeed, Peterson began receiving his monthly $8,702.35 pension, plus benefits, in April.