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Don't let Scot Peterson become a victim, parents of Parkland victim say

Former deputy in media spotlight this week sharing his story

PARKLAND, Fla. – The parents of Joaquin Oliver – one of the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting – spoke out Tuesday against former Broward County Sheriff's Office Deputy and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Resource Officer Scot Peterson's recent media tour.

"I don't want this person to become a victim, and I don't think it's fair. I think he failed in what he was meant to do that day," said Joaquin father, Manuel.

Peterson resigned after the mass shooting when Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he failed to engage gunman Nikolas Cruz as gunfire erupted on the campus.  For months, Peterson has stayed out of the intense media spotlight as many considered him as a coward.

But this week, Peterson gave interviews to the Washington Post and NBC's Today Show explaining why did not take on Cruz. Peterson said he didn't know whether the gunman was inside the building or on the roof.

Joaquin Oliver's parents said it was a poor excuse.

"What is that supposed to mean? We saw you outside of the building, shootings were inside of the building, where the students were, where Joaquin was," Manuel Oliver said.

Scot Peterson on the "Today Show."
Scot Peterson on the "Today Show."

In the interviews, Peterson also addressed the aftermath of the shooting and how he feels now.

"It's haunting," Peterson told The Washington Post. "I've cut that day up a thousand ways with a million different what-if scenarios, but the bottom line is I was there to protect, and I lost 17."

Other parents of the Parkland victims still don't think Peterson is deserving of sympathy, haunted or not.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed, called the media tour a "pity party."

Andrew Pollack, whose 17-year-old daughter, Meadow, was killed, was more direct.

"Deputy Peterson hid while my daughter and others were trapped on the third floor. You are a coward," said Pollack who is suing Peterson for wrongful death.

Joaquin Oliver, 17 years old
Joaquin Oliver, 17 years old

Peterson's reemergence comes just days after Marjory Stoneman Douglas' senior class graduated.

Joaquin Oliver, a 17-year-old senior, should have walked for his diploma, but his mother, Patricia, went instead.

Wearing a T-shirt reading "This Should Have Been My Son," Patricia Oliver raised Joaquin's diploma and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"When he goes kind of saying that it's easy just to go ahead and blame him? Well, I can tell you what is not easy: It's not easy to be in a house with an empty room of our kid," Manuel Oliver said.


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