(CNN) — A Florida judge ruled Thursday that a case may proceed against former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer who was widely criticized after he failed to confront a shooter during the deadly massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
Broward Circuit Judge Martin Fein denied a motion to dismiss 11 charges, including counts of felony child neglect, according to Peterson’s attorney Mark Eiglarsh.
“While we are extremely disappointed with the judge’s decision and plan to appeal, we take solace knowing that the truth will come out at trial. My client is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, and did all he could to save lives during Nikolas Cruz’s abhorrent massacre,” Eiglarsh said.
“The public has been fed a false narrative about Scot Peterson. We have overwhelming evidence proving that the numerous actions that my client took during the attack was done to save lives,” the attorney added.
Peterson, 58, spoke to the media after the first court session on Wednesday.
“I’ll never forget that day,” an emotional Peterson said of the shooting in which 17 people were killed, according to video from CNN affiliate WPLG. “Not only kids died. I had friends that died. Never for a second would I sit there and allow anyone to die knowing that animal was up in that building. Never.”
Peterson was widely criticized after he failed to confront a gunman who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he was working as a school resource officer.
Days after the Valentine’s Day shooting, footage surfaced of Peterson taking position near the 700 and 800 buildings at the high school, a spot he stayed at for more than 45 minutes.
Prosecutors are taking a novel approach and will have to show that Peterson, a law enforcement officer, was a caregiver and exposed students and teachers to harm with his actions, with reckless disregard for their lives, attorneys have told CNN.
Nikolas Cruz has confessed to the shootings, the deadliest high school shooting in US history. Seventeen other people were wounded.
His trial date has not yet been scheduled.