Former Deputy Scot Peterson has had a hard time justifying his actions during the school shooting earlier this month that left 17 people dead. Peterson, who resigned from the Sheriffs Department, claims he stayed outside because he thought the shooter was outside. Now, members of his own family are questioning his character.
Peterson, 54, was labeled a coward after he decided to “seek cover” during the shooting.
And his family seems to be judging him, too. His stepdaughter, Sarah De Luca, 23, spoke with The Daily Mail. “Both of their guns shoot bullets,” she said. “He didn’t have a water gun.”
“He’s a giant, he’s 6ft 4in. I feel like the shooter would have been scared of Scot in his uniform running towards him. I do feel Scot is a coward.”
Peterson has four children of his own. Matthew, 21, and Patrick, 19, are both in the military. They’ve not spoken about their father’s decision to hide, but The Daily Mail said a friend of the family claims the family was “stunned by his apparent inaction.”
“The boys have only recently begun their military careers and they are worried about the stigma of having their father called a coward,” the Mail’s source added.
Peterson’s “daughters are just angry with him for not doing anything. I’m not sure that they would defend him.”
Peterson was on campus during the shooting in his official role as a school resource officer. He’d worked at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since 2009.
His stepdaughter noted that De Luca often had a rifle in his car. It isn’t known if he had a rifle on the day of the shooting, or if it could have been retrieved in time.
“If he was too soft to do something he shouldn’t have signed up to be a cop,” DeLuca added. “I’d be pretty upset if I was a parent.”
Even Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has harsh in his critique of Peterson. He “never went in,” Israel said in a press conference. Israel immediately suspended Peterson. Soon after, news broke that there four deputies from Broward County that remained outside.
Peterson has not made a public appearance, and is hiding out. He did release a statement earlier this week: “Broward Sheriff’s Office trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law enforcement,” Joseph DiRuzzo, Peterson’s lawyer, said in a statement.
“Radio transmissions indicated that there [was] a gunshot victim in the area of the football field, which served to confirm Mr. Peterson’s belief that the shooter, or shooters, were outside.”