Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow Jade Pollack was killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school resource officer who waited outside the building while the massacre unfolded on Valentine's Day.
A passionate, vocal advocate for school safety, Pollack gained national recognition after he delivered a searing, powerful speech during a listening session with President Donald Trump after the shooting. Since then, Pollack has founded a school safety organization and a memorial fund in honor of his daughter.
His lawsuit primarily targets Scot Peterson, the Broward County sheriff's deputy who resigned following criticism for his behavior during the massacre. Footage from the scene showed that Peterson, a 33-year law enforcement veteran, remained outside as the shooter opened fire inside the school. Police call records revealed Peterson also advised fellow officers to steer clear of the building where the shooting was taking place.
"I filed a wrongful death suit against Deputy Peterson today," Pollack tweeted Monday night. "I want to expose that coward so bad. Where ever he goes I want people to recognize him and say that's one of the cowards of Broward. The SRO that let those children and teachers die on the 3rd floor!"
The complaint, filed Monday afternoon in Broward County, states that since Peterson's "special duty existed in whole, or in part, with the teachers and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas," his actions and inactions prevented "real — brave — law enforcement officers from entering the building" and exhibited a "wanton and willful disregard of human rights."
Pollack is also taking legal action against suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz, his dead mother's estate, and the family who housed Cruz after his mother died and several mental health centers that treated him.
"He let everyone die on the third floor that day," the 52-year-old told BuzzFeed News late Monday. "I don't want him to be able to get to live a happy life or hide anywhere in this country. I want everyone to know who he is."
The father also repeatedly insisted that he wasn't seeking money from the suit, but wanted "the people responsible to be punished."
Last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Pollack and the fathers of two other students who died to a state commission charged with investigating the shooting. In a recent meeting, the group watched a presentation that illustrated how the shooting unfolded, using dots to represent the victims, Cruz, and responding law enforcement.
"My daughter was a spot that day in the presentation on the third floor," Pollack explained, his voice shaking. "[Cruz] was still on the first floor when Peterson got to the building. I had to watch my daughter's dot get shot four times on the third floor and then for almost two minutes [Cruz] stalked down the hallway and then he came back and shot her another five times. She was shielding Cara [Loughran], a freshman, and the bullets went through her and murdered Cara."
"That's why I'm filing this suit," he said.
Pollack has previously lashed out at the Broward County Sheriff's Office for its handling of the shooting, and has met with politicians to advocate for school safety measures, including placing armed guards on campuses.
Earlier this month, 15-year-old shooting victim Anthony Borges and his family filed the first lawsuit in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Borges, who was shot five times while protecting classmates from gunfire, sued Cruz for assault and battery, as well as six other parties for acting negligently and failing to stop the 19-year-old from obtaining an AR-15 rifle and using it to kill 17 people at his former high school.
Like Borges, Pollack's suit states that the Snead family, who took in Cruz after his mother died, should have known he had a mental illness and should not have given him access to a gun.
As for the mental health centers that treated Cruz, Pollack said he was incensed by the fact that they "let him go back into normal school with these kids."
"It was the perfect storm of all these failures, of people not doing their jobs, that murdered my daughter," he said. "You have to hold people accountable."