Ex-deputy charged for not responding to Florida school shooting remains in jail: judge

Former Broward County sheriff's deputy Scot Peterson appears via video feed from the Broward County jail in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., June 5, 2019. Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) – The former Florida sheriff’s deputy criminally charged for his lack of response to the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 dead will remain in jail on $102,000 bond, a bail court judge ordered on Wednesday.

Scot Peterson, 56, was arrested Tuesday on 11 charges of neglect and negligence for remaining outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the attack. He was booked into the Broward County jail.

Peterson, who lives in North Carolina, is the first police officer to be criminally charged for his response to an active shooter situation, his attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, said.

Felony and misdemeanor charges against Peterson include seven counts of child neglect, three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury.

Peterson was a Broward County deputy on duty as a school resource officer when Nikolas Cruz, 19, allegedly entered the school building on Feb. 14, 2018, and opened fire. At the time, Peterson was the only armed guard on the campus in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen students and staffers were killed and 17 were wounded.

Cruz, a student who had been expelled from the school, was arrested and is awaiting trial on multiple murder charges.

A lengthy investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that after hearing gunshots ring out, Peterson, who was trained to immediately confront an active shooter, failed to investigate their source and retreated to take cover, according to his arrest warrant.

“Had this individual done his job, lives would have been saved,” said U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who was governor of Florida when the shooting happened.

Three weeks after the shooting, Scott signed into law a bill imposing a 21-year-old legal age requirement and three-day waiting period on all gun purchases and allowing the arming of some school employees.

Peterson has insisted he responded properly by notifying police and assisting a school lockdown. He told the Washington Post, “It just happened, and I started reacting.”

Peterson resigned a week after the shooting. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said on Tuesday he had fired Peterson and another deputy, Brian Miller, saying they had neglected their duties during the shooting.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)

Woman Who Dumped Newborn In Toilet Pleads Guilty To Murder

A Pennsylvania woman who wrapped her newborn in a piece of plastic and then dumped him in a toilet at a sports bar has pleaded guilty to a general charge of murder.

The plea of 27-year-old Amanda Hein of Allentown entered the plea during a pre-trial hearing.  The general plea means that a jury will decide in a trial next month if the charge should be first degree murder, which would carry a life prison term, or third degree murder which would jail her for 20 to 40 years.

Hein acknowledged that she had been taking medication for severe depression at the time of the killing but that she was aware what she was doing at the time.

The body of the child was found in a toilet at Starters Pub at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in August and the coroner determined the boy was alive when he was placed in the plastic and the toilet.

Prosecutors had initially planned to seek the death penalty but decided her mental health issues made it very unlikely that she would be sentenced to death.

Father Arrested After Leaving Baby In Locked Car

A man who was shopping at a Best Buy on Thanksgiving night was arrested after police found his baby locked in his car.

Haider Darwash, 34, was arrested by Florida Highway Patrol officers after returning to his car with his “Black Friday” purchases.

Police say that Trooper Edy Rivera was walking through the parking lot around 5:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night when he noticed an infant strapped into his car seat in the vacant car.  The trooper went into the Best Buy to try and find the vehicle’s owner but no one responded to the officer’s pleas.

He then went outside, broke the car’s window and rescued the baby.  Officials say the baby appeared lethargic but was in good condition.

Darwash told the officers he thought his wife had the baby.  She was reportedly at a different store in the shopping complex waiting for doors to open for their “Black Friday” specials. He was booked into jail on felony child neglect charges.