A father whose daughter was killed in the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the armed deputy who stayed outside the school building during the attack.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow Pollack was one of 17 killed in the massacre, said Tuesday that former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson could have prevented the deaths of “my beautiful daughter & other innocent, unprotected students & teachers!”
“He was paid to protect them but instead he ran & hid because he is a COWARD,” Mr. Pollack tweeted.
The 54-year-old deputy was suspended without pay after the Feb. 14 shooting and resigned shortly thereafter. Video footage showed he stayed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as the gunman shot teachers and students inside.
Sheriff Scott Israel said the officer should have followed procedure and pursued the shooter, but Mr. Peterson’s attorney Joseph DiRuzzo argued in a lengthy Feb. 26 statement that his client thought the shots were coming from outside the building.
As a result, Mr. DiRuzzo said the deputy took a tactical position with his rifle, which was in line with department procedure.
“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” Mr. DiRuzzo said in the statement.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Broward County Circuit Court, also names the estate of the shooter’s mother, the late Lynda Cruz, as well as mental health centers that treated the confessed gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, prior to the attack.
“Peterson is my main target,” Mr. Pollack told the Miami Herald. “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.”
Mr. Pollack also released an eight-point plan for school shootings through his newly founded organization, Americans for C.L.A.S.S., described as “Meadow’s movement.”