A homicide detective weeped on the stand while testifying in the trial of a Parkland school resource officer who allegedly failed to intervene in a mass shooting that left 17 people dead.

Broward County Detective John Curcio, a 25-year veteran and the final witness of the prosecution, spent two hours testifying during the trial of Deputy Scot Peterson. When asked what the deputies’ objective should have been during the shooting, Mr Curcio’s demeanor broke.

“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,” the detective said, his voice breaking.

Mr Peterson is accused of staying outside Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and failing to take action to stop Nikolas Cruz, who was inside the facility shooting students and staff.

Prosecutors argue that Mr Peterson is guilty of felony child neglect for failing to protect the students killed and wounded during the shooting, according to the Associated Press.

Mr Peterson has maintained he followed procedure and did not enter the school because he could not determine from the sound of the gunshots where the shooting was taking place.

After approaching the building’s doors, he backed away and took cover near a neighboring building with his handgun drawn. He stayed in that spot for approximately 40 minutes, long after the shooting had ceased.

He is the first police officer to be charged for an alleged failure to act during a school shooting.

Mr Curcio testified to an interview he conducted with Me Peterson two days after the shooting.

He also acknowledged that police responding to the shooting were hampered by antiquated radios causing communication problems. Information from 911 calls reporting the shooting never made it to Mr Peterson or other Broward County deputies on the day of the attack.

Mr Peterson’s attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, said he will introduce approximately two dozen witnesses who will tesitfy that they also received confusing information and could not determine where the shots were coming from.

His presentation began on Wednesday, 21 June.

If convicted, Mr Peterson could be sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison and lose his annual pension of $104,000. He retired shortly after the shooting and was retroactively fired by the department after allegations arose concerning his alleged inaction.

Cruz, 24, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison last year.

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