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Final State Witness Says Parkland Deputy's Failure Cost Lives

A veteran Florida detective testified that the deputy assigned to guard Parkland's high school during the 2018 mass shooting could have prevented some of the 17 deaths if he had decided to enter the building instead of taking cover, the Associated Press reports. The detective, John Curcio, who led the investigation into the Parkland shooting, wept on the stand Wednesday when gave testimony as the state's final witness in the trial of former Deputy Scot Peterson. Peterson, 60, is the first U.S. law enforcement officer ever charged for an alleged failure to act during a school shooting.


Curcio had been on the stand for two hours when a prosecutor asked him what Peterson’s objective should have been during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “The goal is to stop him (Cruz) from killing people. That doesn’t mean killing him, it means slowing him down. It means distracting him. It means doing anything so that kids can find safety,” Curcio said, his voice breaking. Prosecutors say Peterson is guilty of felony child neglect. Peterson said he didn’t enter the school because the shots’ echoes made it impossible for him to tell where they were coming from. Curcio conceded that Peterson and other Broward deputies at the school were hampered by poor communication systems. A training supervisor testified that Peterson did not follow protocols for confronting an active shooter. Peterson is charged with child neglect and culpable negligence for failing to confront Cruz before the gunman reached the classroom building’s third floor, where six of the victims died. Peterson is not charged in connection with the deaths of 11 other people killed on the first floor before he reached the building.

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