The former school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day of the deadly 2018 mass shooting got emotional after asking a Broward County judge to dismiss all charges against him.
The defense team for Scot Peterson argued for the dismissal Wednesday, saying he was not a caregiver to the students under a Florida statue.
A judge is expected to make a decision on the motion to dismiss within the next week.
On the day of the shooting, Peterson took cover while the gunman - Nikolas Cruz - fired 140 rounds from an AR-15 rifle inside the building shooting students, an investigation found. 17 people died as a result of the shooting.
“I didn’t do anything there to try to hurt any child there on the scene,” Peterson said. “I did the best that I could with the information. I did the best ... I’ll never forget that day. You know, not only kids died, I have friends that died. And never for a second would I sit there and allow anyone to die, knowing that animal was in that building! Never!”
Peterson retired shortly after the shooting and was later fired. He faces 11 counts, including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury for what took place on February 14, 2018.
If convicted, he faces a potential maximum prison sentence of nearly 100 years.
A lawsuit filed by the parents of Meadow Pollack, one of the students killed in the tragedy, was upheld by an appeals court in 2019 against Peterson after his lawyers argued it should be dismissed because of a law aimed to shield government employees from personal liability.
The panel upheld the previous ruling from a Broward judge citing that the law has an exemption for when employees “act in bad faith or with malicious purpose.”
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.